17 years ago Mike and I packed up our big, beautiful Napa Victorian, said all of our goodbyes and handed the keys to the new owner. About 10 days later, on September 3, 2000 a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck Napa Valley causing damage to the community, including our Victorian.

It was the first time we experienced that opposing/dual feeling of luck and sorrow. We felt grateful that lady luck had been on our side, but equally felt terrible for the woman who now owned the house and had to repair the damages.

The same is for our Sonoma.

These past 8 days, Mike and I have been glued to Twitter and news outlets, trying to get as many updated nuggets as possible on this insane firestorm. Huge swaths of neighborhoods that we regularly drive by are now completely gone. The two little antique shops I would sometimes frequent, the newly built barn that sold eggs and local produce, the winery where I recently photographed a bride on her wedding day, all gone. Utter, insane destruction.

Our Sonoma home still stands, but I cannot help but feel those same opposing feelings. Luck that we sold in time. Sorrow that we are not there in the trenches and smoke and dust with our friends and neighbors. We could have never known of this future event, but regardless, I sit here with this feeling that somehow we abandoned our friends when they needed us the most.

I don't know what else to say, other than I will be researching deserving charities and families this week and will do my small part in being there from afar.