Petaluma, Ca., July 14
Since I last wrote you, I settled in a region of California near the metropolitan of San Francisco, in a town called Santa Rosa. Today I write from the McNear Peninsula in the town of Petaluma, California, just a train ride south from home. The weather here is mild for July, as the Pacific keeps the inland fair. East of the peninsula are gentle rolling hills of golden hues marked with spots of green from the grand oaks. Out here, the oak leaves are tough and do not fall in the autumn. These qualities are adaptations to fire. Such qualities of tenacity and grit should describe the people of this region, as seen in their steadfastness through the great fire of last October, of which I too did experience.
Do not worry, Mother; while I sought refuge here in Petaluma for a week or two, I did return safely to Santa Rosa. But now I am return, but for a joyous occasion. Just last week, I had read in the newspaper of a revival coming to town. They call it Rivertown Revival. I found myself in need of uplifting. So early this morning, I made the journey by train from Santa Rosa to the the revival on the McNear Peninsula, which is a landing point for the steamers along the Petaluma River.
Fatigued from the train ride, I was quite relieved for the ale vendor of Lagunitas, a local brewing company, along the path to the revival, a path adorned with inspiring sculptures of birds rising from burned branches, hearkening back to what we have overcome.
I purchased a pint of ale packaged in a can made of aluminum! Shall I eat here on plates of gold? I continued down the path and was amazed by the sights and sounds once I came upon the festivities. Many people were dressed in brightly colored costumes, adorned with lace and ribbons, or in simple clothing as one would wear on the range or farm. There were many a fine hat, including one that appeared to be a bird’s preferred perch.
Not long after I made my way into the revival than did I chance to meet no one other than Miss Webb and her young daughter. Miss Webb is the kind woman who let me stay in her home with her husband and daughter for a time that fateful October. I know her through our mutual interest in the candid camera. It is the smallest camera you’ve ever seen! Even smaller than the Reise-Camera I had to sell to make this journey west.
After enjoying tarrying with the girls for a time, I made my way to the revival tent for the Crux Tent Revival, though I had missed some of it, as I had been enjoying a delightful musical performance from Big Kitty. A curious name, indeed. However, while the tent revival was in progress, I found a space to stand in the very back, just outside of the tent. There were many people gathered from far and wide to hear this preacher Josh Windmiller speak and sing with his band of musicians. It is no wonder word has spread of this master of showmanship. What wonders he did perform! He healed his guitar player of a demon.
He healed his singer of a malady that had stricken her voice, and she gave a most riveting performance as a result. By the preacher’s hand and our collective unifying efforts, a loaf of bread was made manifest to the assemblage. Of this bread did we all partake. There was even a loaf that contained no gluten! The lesson we learned is that without fire and heat, dough cannot rise. And so it is for us: truly from fire, even we rise. Such was also illustrated by the enchanting backdrop painting on the stage. The panels incorporated cabins, wildflowers, a doctor of the body, a doctor of the soul, healing hands, and a loaf of bread at the painting’s apex. The theatrics of this rousing revival were marvelous! But what was most uplifting for me was the collective healing that we all received from that unspeakable devastation of the inferno. But we must continue to gather as a community to continue healing from the effects of the inferno. Such community gatherings as Rivertown Revival are of the utmost importance to maintain our unity, memory, and resiliency.
And so, with much gratitude and an uplifted spirit, I conclude my letter wishing you much to be grateful for.
Your loving daughter,