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10 May 2019

When Settling Did Not Mean Taking Over

By |2019-05-10T22:23:37+00:00May 10th, 2019|Posts|0 Comments

There are contradictions as I write about the Napa land and my ancestors’ relationship with genocide. One of them is in our language—the word “settle,” the idea of settling and the settler. There may be hidden potential in that word, a way to heal.

When I started this book, the term “settler” filled me with shame. It evoked my great, great grandfather, Nathan Coombs, the one who came here in the early 1840s, before the gold rush in California, before statehood. The Bear Flagger who was so successful in buying and […]

19 Dec 2018

“How did you get so lucky?”

By |2018-12-20T01:46:59+00:00December 19th, 2018|Posts|2 Comments

“How did you get so lucky?” There’s awe in the voices of friendly tradespeople in small trucks, who find their way up to our place to fix the sprinkler system or check for termites—and look around in wonderment. Their work takes them to so many places tucked away in the Napa hills, but somehow this one stirs them. Maybe it’s the unpaved road winding through the huge live oaks as if into deep time. Forty years ago, my father did a beautiful job laying it out past […]