Trick or Treating with my kids last night was a more positive note to end the month of October than I thought possible. Here in Santa Rosa there’s an historic district, McDonald, that contains the most stately homes in the city. The homeowners are well-to-do and are known to go all-out in decorating for Halloween. Our local paper reported that the residents of the neighborhood announced that they planned to welcome kids from the burned area and were buying extra candy and planned to greet visitors later into the night than usual. The giddy nature of Halloween being what it is, I could never have discerned which kids were locals versus the ones who were not. Piercing the darkness were near-constant shrieks of laughter and name shouts as friends and parents collected following house visits. Santa Rosa needed this the way Aquaman needed water.
I’m just back from a trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, for the third-ever Outdoor Blogger Summit. It was a chance to connect with other writers, plus photographers, podcast producers and videographers and get insight into their best practices. It was a terrific education into what we are doing well and, of course, what we could be doing better.
The event also held its own award ceremony. Despite not nominating RKP for anything, we managed to make the trio of finalists, along with Bike Rumor and Loam Wolf. I was surprised and gratified when RKP won Best Blog in Cycling.
When I returned home there were a baker’s dozen boxes waiting for me. The boxes are from you readers, from all over the country and will go a long way toward helping cyclists in our community get back out on rides. Even as I write this, I’m aware that there are more readers I need to send our shipping address. Gads.
What this points to is that my life has been far from normal for the last month. There’s no objective reason to think that November should be any different than October other than for reasons of weather, but I’d like to think that the turning of the calendar page will bring with it increased normality.
My normal routines are off, and some of my familiar sources of comfort (like Annadel State Park, 61 percent of which burned) have been neutralized. Getting in the groove of writing consistently once again has proven more difficult than the lack of time available would suggest. Normally, I write my way out of crisis and frustration. Clearly, I’m not myself and it’s both embarrassing and frustrating.
Yesterday, I met with photographer Roman Cho. He’s documenting the fires here through the eyes of residents by shooting a series of portraits. Represented by the AP, Cho is an amazing talent. The feature doesn’t yet have a home, but I’m doing what I can to help him. If nothing else, I’ve offered RKP as a home to the work, but he’s so good I can’t imagine a magazine or newspaper not seizing upon this.
We will be recording another episode of The Paceline shortly and I’ve got a couple of reviews in the pipeline. We will get there.
Thanks for your patience with us.