By Meg Upton
And so it’s been a year. One. Whole. Year. There has been so much good—if ever neighbors leaned on each other, it was this year. There are so many sweet, quiet examples in Indian Valley of people helping each other, without fanfare or publicity, just doing good things for each other.
We now have more food options post Dixie Fire than we had before the fire in downtown Greenville—even sometimes on a Sunday.
There are at least three property owners with what looks like the beginning of foundations being poured (judging by the social media photos). Congratulations to them! That has to be a relief to finally see some forward movement on building. Speaking of which Riley’s and Nelz Towne Pump look like they’re almost completed. There’s a new food trailer at the Papenhausen’s property too.
And of course, we have the new sawmill in Crescent Mills—a visionary partnership between Sierra Institute and J&C Enterprises that’s providing local jobs and was probably an unthinkable business venture a few years ago but here we are.
We have a much needed resource center in Crescent Mills, and the Indian Valley Thrift Store will be making its way back to us as well.
Now if we can get utilities squared away, some fiber optic cable, etc…
We have an organization with steady heads—the Dixie Fire Collaborative—and it really is a veritable who’s who of capable residents moving forward for the entire valley’s benefit.
Speaking of capability and talent, hats off and much admiration goes to Jane Braxton Little for her exquisite ability to not just tell a great narrative but her impeccable detail and specificity in her writing to win second place from this Society of Environmental Journalists. Bravo. I’m a nerd for science writing/ environmental writing and marvel at those who can do it well.
It still hurts though. I still can’t make the drive to Chester without wondering if I’m driving through Mordor and I took a wrong turn somewhere and the red eye of Sauron is going to curse me to the depths of Middle Earth. I still drive to Quincy as if I’m living all the years I’ve done that drive at the same time. In some moments on that drive, everything is lush and my kids are little again. But now they’re grown: one gone, one almost gone, and the matchsticks searing skyward on the mountainside remind me of unshaved legs in winter. I drive remembering missing landmarks and missing people. It can be overwhelming.
Indian Valley has a new trio of angels to watch over it. These women whose smiles and laughter brought joy and comfort to many over the years passed away last week. I’m speaking of Leona Corona, Tana Stoy, and Janice Holland. Leona was one of the very first people to greet my family when we moved here 20 years ago, back when Indian Valley Hospital was still up and running. May they all rest in peace.
I’m not sure how I’m going to feel on this Thursday through Saturday when memorial events are planned for Greenville. I don’t know if I’ll feel like being around people or not. Whether I’ll be in a ‘Wow! Look-how-far-we’ve-come” mode or a Greta Garbo “I-want-to-be-alone” mode. And perhaps the weather will decide for me. May you hold Greenville, Indian Falls, and Canyon Dam and canyon communities in your heart this Thursday through Saturday and may you be kind to yourself throughout this time.
My kindness to myself lately has been to get back into theatre and song mode. Listening to music, doing art projects in the garage, planning theatre events once more—remembering how I used to like to do things before the melancholy of one’s town burning down set in. In a way that’s a way to fulfill one’s dreams, isn’t it? To face our new reality with new vision.
Please forgive my obsession with the Tony-award winning musical Hadestown by Anais Mitchell, (which I saw twice last week in Reno and once in Los Angeles in May, and if I could get away with it, I’d fly to see it in other states next). I’m thinking of the character of Orpheus as he stands on a café table with a cup in hand giving a toast in the midst of environmental destruction, and gathering storms, and says “To the world we dream about…and…the one we live in now.”
At the end of this impeccable show, the goddess Persephone leads the cast in a quiet encore song with the lyrics “Some flowers bloom/Where the green grass grows/Our praise is not for them/But the ones who bloom in the bitter snow/We raise our cups to them.” Change out bitter snow for wildfire and you have northern California.
Raise up those cups, Greenville. Mourn the loss…but marvel at our collective tenacity and hope to dream a new world, even—or especially—while living in the one we are in now.
The following is information on some happenings this week.
The Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center has free bottled water. Kevin Cox of Hope Crisis Response Network organized eight pallets of water to be donated. The Resource Center is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come get some water. It’s hot out there. Hydration always!
Paint the Town
“Paint the Town Greenville” a Street-Art Fair takes place August 4, 5, and 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Come add some much needed chalk art color to downtown Greenville. The event takes place on Pine Street and Hwy 89 with dancing on the street at the Way Baby on Friday and Saturday nights. There will be a bouncy house for kids, vendors, libations, food, and various fire survivor resources.
Check-in at the registration booth on the corner of Pine and Highway 89 starting at 8am. Participants must register. They’ll be provided with colored chalk, sponges, brushes, a rectangular kneepad, water, and/or a broom. We have a limited number of pop-up shade barriers.
Participants can bring their own rags, spray bottles, tools, and reference materials. It is advised to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you have your own shade barrier at home please bring it. Bobbie Rae Jones and Bobbie Elizabeth Stoy-Linford are the lead artist orgainizers for this event.
For more information about the event call (530) 282-7000 for vendors and (907) 242-4426 for general information. Sponsors of the event include The Dixie Fire Collaborative, Plumas Rural Services, Inc., The Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center, Indian Valley Innovation Hub, Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Portola United Methodist Church, Plumas Bank, The Spot, Blinford Fine Arts, and HALTER Project, on behalf of the town of Glen Ellen. All of the events in this week’s column are under the purview of the Dixie Fire Collaborative and a committee entitled the “Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being Committee.”
Memories of Greenville Memorial
From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 4 on Main Street at the site of the American Legion post and parking lot there will be a “Memories of Greenville” Memorial featuring the veterans color guard, speakers Trina Cunningham, Sue Weber, Dan Kearns, and Nancy Presser, musicians Levi Mullen, Tommy Miles, and a participant sing along of “This Land is Your Land” and the “Indian Valley Song.”
This event is followed by two concert performances given by classical guitarist Jack Cimo at the Greenville Baptist Church on Wolf Creek Road at 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Commemoration in Quincy
August 5 and 6 and the West End Theatre in Quincy will be the site of two performance events in the solemn recognition of the one year anniversary of the fire. On Friday night, starting at 7:30 p.m. and lasting until 9:30 p.m., local musicians, writers, and performers will offer up their talents at an “All Plumas Memorial Event.”
On August 6, classical guitarist Jack Cimo will be doing an encore performance from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. followed by an open mic for those feeling the need to express themselves.
Plumas Arts gallery is currently showing excerpts from the Dixie Fire Stories Project featuring photographs by Joanne Burgueno and words by Sara Gray. This Friday before the show at the West End Theatre is an optimum time to take in the artwork in person. The whole project can be seen on facebook page Dixie Fire Stories.
Ken Donnell is organizing a procession, which will begin in Belden at 9 a.m. on Aug. 4 near the location of the first home lost to the Dixie Fire; it continues at 10:30 a.m. at the Keddie Turnout where the Fly Fire began, then at 11:30 a.m. the procession meets up at Indian Falls. Lunch is from noon to 2 p.m. on Pine Street from the food trailers followed by a procession drive to Canyon Dam by 2:30 p.m. with a stop at Carol’s Café in Prattville for refreshments at 3:30 p.m. For more information, contact Ken Donnell at (530) 566-2561 via text. Carpooling is suggested and there will be traffic control at each site.
Lara Wheeler, program coordinator for the Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center, indicated Tuesday night that there has been funding approved for Plumas Transit rides for people living in FEMA and CalOES camps to attend events and for safe rides home after the street dance. For more information contact her at (530) 283-2735 ext 833.