Hiking back out to the trailhead

Dear friends,
In just a few weeks we will be passing the disturbing milestone of a full year since the start of the pandemic and our physical distancing. For some, this year has been difficult but not for lack of basic necessities. For others, this year has been wrought with concerns over housing, food, access to healthcare and much more. While the arrival of a vaccine may have turned us around on this in/out hike, we still have a way to go.  
As many of us know, an in/out hike can feel shorter on the return. Let’s hope that is true for the pandemic as well. From this new perspective we can ask ourselves, what have we seen and what is coming into view? What is tangible that was abstract before?  
In addition to the ongoing trauma of the pandemic, our community experienced another trauma – that of the fires that raged across our region last fall. While we are on the “out” part of that hike as well, there is also still a long way to go to restoring the thousands of acres burned, ensuring our watersheds are healthy, and mitigating any future devastating effects, like that of a flood.
Our team was offered a first-hand view of the damage by our friends at Cal-Wood. We caravanned through the property (in the motorized version of an in/out hike pictured above) and got a sense of the magnitude of the damage.  
In a word: overwhelming.  
The fire burned fast and quick – in some cases charring trees without destroying them, in other cases, due to an accumulation of duff, the fire smoldered near root systems and burned trees from the inside out. While we are extremely fortunate to not have experienced the kind of loss our neighbors to the north and west experienced, these events are yet another reminder that we are deeply interconnected. Our community’s health and safety is linked with others as well as with one another.  
So, as we continue our march towards the trailhead, stay vigilant. What we do individually can and does save lives. What we do collectively will continue to set our trajectory into the future.  
Tatiana Hernandez, CEO