The Story of a Redwood Tree

Here is the story published in Voices today:

By Kate Woods Novoa

It was a clear, sunny December morning when one of the beloved redwoods at the Henry Miller Library cracked and came down. It took out the fence but missed the library building. It was December 2, 2012.

Soon after this magnificent tree hit the ground, Magnus Toren, executive director of the library, thought of a way to honor the fallen redwood and also to help fund the library. He did not want this tree to simply rot and return to the ground as compost. He would turn it into slabs and auction them off. With the assistance of two others and they were able to obtain 38 beautiful slabs to sell out of this one tree. The process took more than three months to finish.

Two auctions of these legendary slabs have already been held, and they yielded $110,000 for the library. On Sunday, Oct. 6, the last dozen slabs will be auctioned off at the library. 

The auction is a chance to purchase 500 years of Big Sur history. 

The Henry Miller Library was created by Emil White, a longtime friend of the artist and writer who authored groundbreaking works of fiction like “Tropic of Cancer.” Located in Big Sur, 35 miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea on Highway 1, the library occupies White’s former home. It is a public benefit, non-profit organization championing Miller’s literary, artistic and cultural contributions. Shortly after I moved to Big Sur in 1985, I had the pleasure of meeting Emil at the library. He was quite the “ladies man,” even into his 80s, and literally latched on to me for a bit.

The rest of my article can be read here: