It’s the last week of April and spring has come to a roar as human activity has fallen to a hush.
Today is Earth Day, and my planner reminds me that I should be at the Climate March downtown. But since coronavirus has wreaked havoc on all of our plans, I instead walked to King’s Nursery and managed to grab the last six-packs of Swiss chard and bok choy. I’d never seen the shelves so bare—momentarily irksome for me but ultimately great for this cherished local business that, like so many others, has expertly responded to social distancing measures. Sure, it was still stressful: my 8-year-old chafed in her mask, my 4-year-old can’t comprehend 6 feet. By the time we got home, filled the kiddie pool, and readied the wine barrels for planting, I was breathing easier. Roses popping, bees diving, the smell of dirt in the air. Nature continues her relentless march of rebirth and renewal.
This issue was three weeks into production when shelter-in-place was ordered. I reluctantly canceled my family’s spring break trip to Joshua Tree and got a pitch from Evan Wiig about investigating how our local farms are responding to this crisis (see The Hands That Feed Us). I was introduced via Facebook to a group of women who’d started sewing and donating masks to local hospitals and grocery stores (see Stories of Hope). And those essential workers—what is it like for them? (see the Locavox Q&A). Stories were updated, interviews conducted over Zoom, and some things—like the call to slow down and make things by hand embodied in Francesca Preston’s coverage of the Hearth Folk School—took on a heightened significance. The issue came together, the new reality set in.
Amid all the fear, uncertainty, grief, and economic devastation, there are always good things: the Himalayas are visible again, social distancing seems to be working here, and many local businesses are creatively meeting our needs (see Anne Convery’s ode to Wishbone). Natural pharmacy Farmacopia is offering a 15 percent discount to folks who’ve seen reduced wages and Sanación del Pueblo/The People’s Healing Clinic is offering free online sessions. I enjoyed the email from Healdsburg beekeeper April Lance about how she was flooded with 400 requests for hives, exponentially more than she’s ever had before. I also look forward to Dani Burlison’s Friday night pens and pints writing workshop. We’ve swapped Jack and Tony’s for couches and screens, but it holds up to Zoom better than just about anything else.
I’d love to hear from you—suggestions, griefs and triumphs, stories of coping well or not coping at all. And please, stay safe and healthy.
Jess D. Taylor Editor