I wish Lindsay knew how much I love her.
World peace, please.
That my breakup is easier than I think it will be.
I wish for me and my mom to afford things like tuition and rent.
That James comes out of his coma well and stronger than before!
These are just a few of the wishes hanging from an iron latticework (used to be a nearby tree) on a lovely block of Beaver Street in Santa Rosa’s JC neighborhood. There’s a bucket with sharpies and pens for passersby to write out their wishes on cream-colored tags adorned with artful strips of ribbon. My kids and I walk by all the time; we love adding our wishes of the moment almost as much as reading the new ones that have materialized since our last visit.
This summer issue comes to you in the spirit of the always-changing wish tree, where playfulness and hopefulness rule. In the midst of tragic headlines and another COVID surge, I’ve been seeking reminders that hope lurks in unexpected places.
When I set out to write about local thrift stores, I did so mostly as a curious fan. Never did I envision meeting such thoughtful and inspiring workers—who are providing our communities with so much more than good deals. By giving new life to people’s discarded stuff, they are not only lightening the waste stream but also helping to sustain life-affirming local agencies that serve the most vulnerable among us. (I did my part by shopping before each interview, acquiring a plush black Pink Floyd sweatshirt, Le Sport Sac wallet, three wafer-thin plates for camping, a retro juice carafe, tags-still-on Snoopy dress for my six-year-old, and a perfect roomy woven beach bag, all for $22.) FYI, August 17 is National Thrift Store Day, in case you need an excuse.
Small offerings with big impact is also the subject of Evan Wiig’s Grow feature about Plants for the People, a coalition of female farmers bridging the divide between rural and urban growers of food. They’ve woven a safety net for precarious times, just like End Bit subject Heather Irwin, whose nonprofit Sonoma Family Meal has served hundreds of thousands of free meals to people in need. Yvette Bidegain and Shamar Cotton both come from families who left the South with hopes of better tomorrows; read about their culinary legacies in the barbecue Eat feature.
And no matter what summer has in store for you, may it be filled with just the right balance of relaxation and adventure, may you take time away from screens to play without purpose, and may you never stop putting your wishes out into the world.
Jess D. Taylor editor