Right now, our nation is being challenged. At times it seems like our current crisis can bring so much division that we forget what we have in common. We all want a roof over our heads and food on the table. We all search for happiness. We all want to feel hope. Even so, we are in the midst of racial, health, and political issues that have yet to resolve. Each day seems only to stir the pot more. These in-between moments when everything is uncertain are the most discouraging. It’s hard to stay happy with so much fear, anxiety, and anger happening in our world. On the days our family gets down, we like to play the Thankful Game. We call it a game, but it’s more like an idea. The only rule is to think of things we’re thankful for. No, it doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it helps us remember the good things we do have while we address the stressful issues happening in our society. Here are five things that we at The Bloom are thankful for, in no particular order: 1. We are thankful that we have the right to gather in peaceful demonstrations. No matter what we believe, we have the right to be heard. 2. We are thankful that as a community, we have looked out for small businesses and supported them when they might have otherwise closed their doors permanently. 3. We are thankful for our essential workers making sure our basic needs are met. 4. We are thankful for countless volunteers who look out for those who are most vulnerable. 5. We are thankful for you, our readers. We realize that the Thankful Game doesn’t change anything, but it does remind us that we still have hope. It shows us that beauty and goodness can speak just as loudly as hate and fear. It shows us that even though the world is in turmoil, we can still find peace. We are surrounded by beautiful things. Let’s not lose sight of that.
This year turned out differently than all of humanity planned. Who would have thought that instead of watching our daughter march and get her AA, we would be standing with her on the side of the road, hoping that people would show up? Instead of a huge graduation party, we hauled a table and a bunch of balloons down to the edge of our driveway and set up decorations and chairs. Soon people started showing up, and each gave her something special. A new mother came by to congratulate Emma and wish her a happy future. Emma’s former employers showed up. They had taken Emma in with no experience and watched her grow up inside their business. They loved her more like family, and blessed her into a bright tomorrow, filled with success. Neighbors came by, each bringing flowers, balloons, and well wishes. Old friends sat in their cars with their windows down and cheered Emma’s graduation. And my daughter’s smile filled her face. We’re not alone in our experience. Schools all over the county have had drive-by graduations and parades with people waving and honking their horns, celebrating the class of 2020. Isn’t it amazing? We still have each other. We have friends, neighbors, and relatives who go out of their way to drive by a person’s house on a Saturday afternoon or to honk as they pass by a home with a “Class of 2020” sign in the front yard. It’s the best of who we are in a hard time, coming together to share in each other’s joy. Class of 2020, it may not be the graduation you expected, but we’ll never forget it. It’s the one where our community came together to cheer you on. Happy Graduation, class of 2020. Your future is bright.
The day has finally closed; it’s eight o’clock in the evening. Daylight has settled into twilight, and the sky, purple-grey, slowly dims to black. Then, off in the distance, a loud, lingering noise rises from the valleys, bounces off the mountains, and echoes through the night air. It’s time for the community howl. People all over the county pop out of their homes, stand in their backyards, and do their best wolf imitation. A little over a week ago, the howl came to Lake County, echoing across the rooftops in Hidden Valley Lake, reverberating off Cobb Mountain, and bouncing off the waters of Clear Lake. Perhaps it’s a whim, but every night, like clockwork, it happens. It’s true; we’re all cooped up right now. The evening howl is a great way to work off some steam and to remember that we still do have neighbors, and they may be a bit weird, too. Our family looks forward to the moment when the clock strikes eight. Then we pop outside, stand on our patio and let go. “Hawoooo!” we yell, and our dog chips in for good measure. Then we stop and listen. There, in the valley below us, an answering “Oooooooo” rises in the night air. There’s another human out there! We howl back and forth for a few minutes, sharing a small connection during a time when our entire society is disconnected. Sure, it seems a little bit silly, but it’s so lovely to let all the frustrations and worries out and just howl. For those few moments, there’s no SIP, no COVID, no stress, just a call into the evening air. You can call it cheap therapy, a sure sign of our county’s loneliness, or just plain strange. Whatever you think of it, it’s happening all around you. And oh, it feels so good just to let go. So, tonight at eight, head out to your backyard and give your best wolf imitation. And if you’re too cool to make a fool of yourself, don’t worry. We’ll howl louder for you.
I know. It’s fun to be home, but after a while, it begins to wear on the psyche. Eating, sleeping, and binge-watching Netflix all are enjoyable in their own right, but it’s going on three weeks of staying at home now, and perhaps you’re looking for something new and exciting. Have no fear! Even during the time of COVID-19, there still are things happening in Lake County. That’s why we’ve created a new Online Calendar for your enjoyment. It’s full of interesting and exciting things. Want to share your music, poetry, or writing, but don’t have an outlet? Check out the Virtual Open Mic happening every Friday. Want to learn something new? You can attend an Aikido class, a Mindfulness group, or take an art class, all from businesses here in Lake County. Is all the laziness getting to you? Why not take up a Dance class or Pilates? You can find it all in our Online Calendar. So take a few minutes and give it a look. You might be glad you did. Are you hosting a local online event or class? Get in touch with us, and we’ll make sure to get it posted.
It can be difficult going online right now. It’s already stressful enough during normal times, but when a crisis happens, people can become alarmist and feed our already-growing fears. After another morning of reading bad-news social media, my wife Trudy offered me a well-known piece of advice from one of our childhood heroes, Mr. Rogers. “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news,” he said, “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” It’s a valid point; in every crisis, every disaster, good people are working to help others. Lake County is a prime example: we are delivering food to neighbors both old and young, calling old friends who may be lonely, and doing our best to be neighborly and still stay six feet away from each other. Our public health officers and police are working overtime to ensure our safety. Grocery stores now have special hours for the elderly and immune compromised. Restaurants and wineries are offering curbside delivery. Companies are removing late fees from our bills. It’s good to look for helpers; they are everywhere, looking to assist neighbors even if it just means staying at home to keep others safe. There is no doubt that our world will be different after this crisis; tough times always bring change. But that change doesn’t always have to be for the worse. Sometimes, we may want to break down and cry at the misery happening in our world. We may feel helpless to change it. But that’s not true. No matter how bad things are, we are all doing our part to lessen the stress we’re under; it’s visible in the kindness and generosity happening all the time within our community.
Sure, it’s a stressful time right now. It would be impossible not to feel at least some anxiety about the situation happening in our world. It’s scary, for one thing, and it affects not just our health, but also our financial security. And, to be honest, Lake County has been through enough stress in the past few years to last several lifetimes. But don’t despair; hold on to hope. You see, while the rest of our nation is being tested, we in Lake County already know how to manage. We’ve been through fires, floods, and outages. And we’re still here. Sure, you can’t sit down at Juicy’s in Lakeport and enjoy a slice of one of their beautiful pizza pies, but they do curbside delivery now, and each bite will taste just as good in your mouth. Yes, you may not be able to walk through the beautiful lobby of the Castle in Lucerne to one of New Paradigm College’s amazing events, but you can take a class there for free, right at home. Hey, you’re not busy right now, and it’s not like you’ve got a lot going on, so why not take a mindfulness class? No, you don’t need to go anywhere. It’s all online. Just because things are tough doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to help. In fact, now’s the best time to do it. Our local businesses need it more than ever. Grab a lunch at Buddha Thai Kitchen, pick up some wine at Fults Family Vineyards and head off for a picnic at Anderson Marsh; the trails are open. The marsh is waking up with the beauty of springtime on Clear Lake. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss. Right now, we’re social distancing, and can’t get closer than six feet to each other. But even though we’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean that we have to be socially isolated. In fact, right now, we most need to come together. During the fires, people of our county helped their elderly neighbors evacuate. We came together then. During the outages, people offered to deliver generators and free gas to those who had no electricity. We came together then, too. Yes, this time is scary. Yes, it’s hard. But we know how to do it. We’re going to make it through this tough period. We’ve done it before, and we are doing it again.
It’s springtime again, and all the bushes and flowers are slowly coming back to life. This slow budding of the new season also is happening with one of my favorite plants: poison oak. Even in its budding, it’s beautiful. Three small leaves poke out, bright green and red-orange. They spread across the ground, wind their way up trees, and work their way across fields. Then, as summer is followed by fall, they turn golden, red, and orange, covering those fields with a painter’s palate-worth of color. However, not everyone feels the same way that I do about this plant. “I hate it,” most people tell me. But that is something I could never, ever, do. You see, my love for poison oak is hard-earned.
Everyone in Lake County has been displaced. Some of us have lost our homes. Some are still rebuilding. It’s all part of life in Lake County; sure it isn’t easy, but it’s home. If you have a story about rebuilding your life in Lake County, we’d love to hear it. Send us an email at email@example.com.
It’s getting dark outside, and inside the Rosenthals’ tasting room, it’s even darker. The power’s already off in Middletown, and battery-powered lanterns, LED candles and glasses of wine sit on the tables, around which sit groups of women committed to our county and part of the local Soroptimist group.
Our calendars are one of the most popular parts of The Bloom. It’s because we’re committed to helping the community see all the great things happening in Lake County. We are currently working to expand our Club Calendar. If you’re part of Rotary or Lions, the Sierra Club or the Lake Lords, the gun club […]
Yesterday evening, The Bloom’s hosting company upgraded their system, which caused some, but not all, of our readers to get an error message when they visited our website. The company has made the correction, but it will take anywhere between 1-24 hours for it to update on all their servers. What that means for you […]
Fires have come to define Lake County. Over the past few years, Lake County has been bombarded by the Valley Fire, the Rocky Fire, the Sulphur Fire, the Pawnee Fire, the Clayton Fire, The Jerusalem Fire, and, of course, the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. If you have lived in Lake County for four years, you’ve […]
This week has been great for The Bloom: we’ve got two new things for you to enjoy. The first is a new (at least to The Bloom) weekly column: Lake County Music Guide, by local musician Mike Guarniero. For the past three years, Mike has posted the Lake County Music Guide on Facebook. We can’t […]
You may have seen the pictures of the wildflowers that have begun appearing in The Bloom. It’s springtime in Lake County, and now that the cool spring days are switching places with the warm spring days, the mountains are popping up flowers everywhere. Some of the photos come from Cobb, but the majority were taken […]
We at The Bloom believe that we have everything we need in Lake County. In the past six months since the inception of The Bloom, we’ve had the privilege of meeting with many different businesses and people, all who add to the uniqueness of our county. However, the truth is that many of us who […]
We couldn’t be more excited. This past week we gained three new columns. Our first is Bone, a monthly column about food written by Dancing Poly’s Blaise Bahara. If you haven’t heard of Dancing Poly and all the noteworthy things they’ve been up to, be sure to read what we’ve written about them: our first, […]
If you have sent a message to The Bloom through our website and haven’t heard back from us, try it one more time. We recently discovered a compatibility issue with Google made it think that everyone was a robot. That makes for an interesting science fiction story, but it doesn’t work so well for a […]
It’s been rainy; no one can deny that. The last storm that blew through dumped almost fifteen inches of rain on Cobb. Creeks have spilled over their banks and the lake’s flooding again. It’s not really the best time of year to go hiking or for a swim. Even if it isn’t bucketing down, the […]
We at The Bloom love that there’s always something happening in our wonderful county. In fact, our calendars are some of the most popular pages in our paper. Isn’t that fantastic? That means that people like you are discovering more about our county and the many things it has to offer. In light of that, […]
Lake County is an amazing place. It has an abundance of nature, beauty, and lots of things going on. What? You say there’s nothing to do in Lake County? That’s just not true. At The Bloom we’re working hard to remedy that false belief. In fact, we’re adding more calendars to prove that there is […]
The Bloom seeks a columnist to write a bi-monthly column on issues pertinent to seniors (65+) in Lake County. We’re looking for someone well connected with local senior centers and who is aware of what’s happening in our county. The column is broad-based. That is, the author will have the freedom to comment on diverse […]
It’s been three months since the launch of The Bloom, and it’s been a joy to discover and share some of the wonderful parts of our county. In the past three months, we’ve highlighted six artists, one poet and a musician, serially published three books, gained a new column (Witter Springs Chronicles), showcased some of […]
Let me tell you a story. It’s December 21, 2017, the Thursday before Christmas. I hauled the last bag of groceries up our steps and into the kitchen. It’s that time of year, the busy few days before the fun of the holiday begins. I got some good stuff—weird and stinky cheeses for a cheese […]