It’s a Monday in mid-August, the first day of school, and I’m writing this as my new 3rd grader meets her teacher over Zoom and heavy clouds darken the usually bright living room that her younger sister plays in. This morning we awoke to an enormous clap of thunder followed by a hailstorm. The record heat wave and dry lightning are commencing an early fire season. Strapping our masks on at the store and distant porch hang-outs have become routine, and I’ve stopped scouting plane tickets for winter travel. Safe to say, this doesn’t feel like the world we knew a year ago.
Change may be the only constant, but many of us are weary and worn out, wondering how much more disruption we can handle. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that this issue profiles women who have forged their businesses in the irons of change—whether it’s Chef Anne Sanusi of Sonoma Crust, who moved across the country in the wake of tragedy and wound up opening a cafe, or Nicole Tai of GreenLynx, who devotes her life to revolutionizing our culture of disposal. I didn’t set out to almost exclusively profile women business owners either, but even that reflects a refreshing seismic shift. There’s also Duskie Estes, who’s transitioned from her role as celebrity chef to the executive director of the nonprofit Farm to Pantry, and hair stylist Ramona Camille, who created an outdoor, traveling salon in order to keep her clients styled, safely.
As we pivot from summer into fall, my personal favorite seasonal transition, I am trying to embrace all that reliably remains amid the chaos—the pink naked lady flowers dotting the roadsides, the indelible kindness of my neighbors, ripening pumpkins and delicious takeout, the astounding resilience of this community. Though it’ll be unlike any other semester, and though I ache to be back in the classroom, I’m striving to conjure the same excitement for teaching my JC English classes this fall as I have every previous fall. Thanks to the tremendous and necessary agitation of the Black Lives Matter movement, SRJC has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to equity, including the creation of the Sawubona Black Student Scholarship—changes that are certainly worth celebrating.
Like so many of you, I miss much about the way life was a year ago. And yet somehow we find the courage to embrace the inevitable cycles. Do you have suggestions for how things could be done differently, in this magazine or in the county? If so, please give in to your urge; I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime—mask up, stay safe, and as always, thanks for reading.
Jess D. Taylor editor