What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


A love letter to Sonoma

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Katy Byrne

This has been a hard year of constant whiplashes, isolation, grueling, gripping stories of struggle, catastrophe, conflict, chaos, creativity, and gratitude. The news is churning. 

Living in lockdown, I had love on my mind before more violence hit America. I was fumbling with humble fingers on the keys, so with no time to write another column, here is what I wrote: the truth is, I only exist because of you. We’re not cuddling on the page, but with limited space, how can I possibly tell you what I feel? 

It’s a little awkward to tell you how much you mean to me, but that’s how vulnerability is. I suppose the pain of this year of terror has opened me up a bit, melted some of the usual armor. Feeling raw, more sensitive, ragged around the edges, like just curling up in a ball and not coming out until spring, I thought about the importance of community. 

Our downtown square was the place I sat and cried when making my decision to move here. Sonoma has a center, like the heart of a body. So, I took the leap, like many. 

We have too many challenges now; along with tyrannical politicians, we have a home full of stir crazy kids or loneliness – everyone’s scenario is different. All over the world there is suffering. Some like being isolated, but between violence in the streets, Covid horror, and daylight “savings” sucking the light out of our days, I’m over it. (Who wants to be up early mornings when the cock crows?) 

In our sweet Sonoma, businesses are failing, silence still prevails, except for the speeding sound of loud, rumbling cars hugging our butts on the road. Maybe they’re in a hurry to get home so they can pee? 

Anyway, back to love. I adore the people who greet me here, smiling above their masks. I relish the community spirit of pitching in. Like my neighbor, who labored long hours to cut down dangerous trees in my yard this month, asking for almost nothing. 

This is the Sonoma I love, but between fire seasons and the expense, does our home still have soul? 

Many changes need to occur. Richard Harwood wrote it well: “A global pandemic, economic upheaval, systemic racism, social injustice, and political turmoil that are wreaking havoc on our lives and communities… These crises have laid bare long-standing inequities and disparities that we can no longer turn away from, turn our back on, turn inward to escape.”

Our fundamental task is to come together to re-imagine and recreate our lives, our communities, and thus the nation itself.” 

Will we build cohesion in our communities, each of us taking a role in that? Or will we sit back and blame others for the absence of it?

I’ve learned one thing the hard way: life speeds by, kind of like those cars I was complaining about. And even while we’re slowed to a halt, it moves forward and someday, this harrowing part of history will be like the labor pains we forget. 

I hope whoever remains will learn from this tough, worldwide, tragic period, and envision a town with true common ground.


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