On Saturday night eleven fires were set in my old neighborhood of Northampton, Massachusetts. Eight homes were burned and three cars destroyed. Two people died. I am away for the holidays and have been following these terrible events from afar, touching base with friends when possible.
As the story unfolds I find myself triangulating my grief and empathy for those affected in street names that are so familiar, streets that I walked a thousand times. Many of the houses that burned were daily landmarks where I watched the seasons play out in people’s gardens.
Not being in the area, I’ve been getting all my news about the fires online. Like many of my friends I found out about all of this through Facebook and Twitter, not through any established local news source. (more…)