Dustin, Blake, and Sara Shumway... accompanied by Finn.

Dustin, Blake, and Sara Shumway... accompanied by Finn.

While things begin to feel, perhaps, a little more claustrophobic at home, know that you can know participate with community members across the world in celebrating our essential workers!  The trend of evening clapping to thank workers began in Wuhan, China, and is quickly catching on throughout the globe from Paris, to New York City, Buenos Aires, Seville, Atlanta, and Amsterdam.  It’s even spread to our valleys!  If you have yet to join, I advise you to, like the spouse of Boulder Creek resident Nicki Petruzzella Kerns, set an alarm for 7:57 pm and amble outside after it goes off.  Ever since March 28th, our valleys have been filling with howls of appreciation at 8:00pm, for those continuing to work against the virus. 

Julia Wuest, of Boulder Creek, jump started the trend with a howling Facebook event on March 28th.  She was inspired by “the Mill Valley neighborhood was doing an evening howl,” and decided to bring it to our communities.  “Everyone knows how to howl, and I’m sure it puts a smile on everyone’s face and heart.”  Her goal has been to facilitate community connection, “given the remoteness of our San Lorenzo Valley residence, our isolation, our missing our community, our missing visits, our businesses, our support of our Health Care Workers, and Essential businesses and Workers.”

Boulder Creek in particular is feeling more and more connected every night, and I got in touch with several community members to hear more about their experiences.  Sean Woodward, a resident for 30 years, first “only heard faintly the sound of fellow howlers, but each night the chorus of howlers, bells, horns and real positivity has continued to increase including our towns Peacock, named Albert!”  He’s especially grateful for “the wave of positivity, inclusivity and kindness,” and suggests that we ought to “remember this moment each day after we get through this challenge.”  

Many valley neighbors relish the sense of community, whether listening as the howl “rolls down the Valley from Boulder Creek to [Felton],” or marveling in the cathartic release of stress, like Kristin Ghbeish.  Some unique howlers are joining the nighttime ritual, aside from Albert.  Jeannie Hobbs hears a “vuvuzela in our ‘hood, but I guess if you won’t howl, you blow.”  Alina Nicole’s “three-year-old looks forward to it every night.  We get to chat with our neighbors over the fence and feel some weird sort of normalcy for a minute!” At Suzanna Torrance-Fellows’ house, “Our daughter is a health care worker and I think that makes it extra special.  Our old dog loves to sing and our little granddaughter waits on the front porch for 8:00.  She gets so excited hearing her friends howl back!  It is an awesome community moment each day!”  

Wuest shared her final thoughts on the deeper meaning in our community celebration, “Thanks to all the volunteers that are helping support the community needs, first responders, and health care workers battling this virus… Staying at home is an opportunity and challenge, and we are seeing the benefit of our flattening the curve. Our thoughts go out to other areas who are suffering. Grateful for our SLV Town Howlers!”  So set your alarm, get out, and howl!  I know I’ll be tonight!

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