Rebecca R. Vasconcellos, Idyllwild
While at the Farmer’s Market in San Jacinto on Thursday, July 25, I was asked if Idyllwild is safe. Yes, in the realm of crime it is safer than most of the major cities in the United States and many international cities. The woman asking me the question then tried again to elicit a negative response. “But,” she inquired, “Is it safe from fire?” Is any town safe from fire? Was Malibu safe from fire? Was Paradise safe from fire? Why would you presume any town in the world is safe from fire? Since fire exists and there are those that want to destroy what they perceive others may have, there will always be a risk that someone may start a fire. Also, accidents happen daily. Destructive fires are not limited to a specific area or town. Every morning when you wake to embrace a new day, there are risks. Every time you get into your car or leave your home, there are risks. Every time you climb a mountain or a staircase, there are risks. Living is a risk. Our presumed sense of security and safety depends on how many risks we decide to take and then we need to weigh if those risks are worth it. Thursday, July 25, was the anniversary of the Cranston Fire, which affected Idyllwild. Many shared, including me, where I was and what I did on that day. We survived it. We are better for it because we are better prepared for the future. To keep harping on the negatives that we have experienced and keep reinforcing that our town is suffering, it just brings more suffering. It brings less of what we, as a community, want and need. If we focus on the positives, we will bring forth more positives. Too many articles discussed the trauma that Idyllwild, as a town and a community, has endured in the last year. Then, we expect people to feel secure in visiting our town like the woman, who asked me today attempting to elicit a negative response, “Why should I risk my safety and that of my family to support your community?” With all the negatives our community and the businesses within have been producing and advertising, she has a point. From my perspective, Idyllwild is one of the safest communities and destinations. The town itself has been standing for how many years? Let’s celebrate that! What can we, as a community, offer that person wanting a vacation from their busy lives? We can offer sanctuary from the busyness of their lives. We can offer a sense of community that has been lost. We can offer beauty. We can offer clean air and serenity, which is becoming difficult to find. We need to start doing a positive campaign! Instead of focusing on what has happened to our small community, we need to focus on what did not happen. Yes, a fire came and it singed us, but we did not burn. Yes, the rains came and we lost a few roads, but it did not stop us. We are still a wonderful community and destination. We still have a lot to offer. We need to focus on positives, versus beating the negative train of despair, then holding out our hands and asking someone to risk their lives and those of their family members because we, as a community, have touted just how dangerous it is to visit our town. No, the woman questioning did not elicit a negative reply from me. She walked away from my booth in utter disgust seeking confirmation of her decision from others.