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: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/10/03/the-story-of-a-redwood-tree/

The Spirit of Wild Places

My latest article for Voices of Monterey Bay http://VOMB.org is out. Here are the first two paragraphs.

I’ve been enchanted with the spirit of wild places most of my life. I went backpacking to the top of Mount San Jacinto when I was 9, long before the tram was built. My family and I took a weeklong mule trip to the high country camps of Yosemite when I was 10. We camped every summer when I was growing up. I grew up as a Girl Scout and wild places were very much part of my life. We were taught to pack it in, pack it out, just because … well, what else would one do? Long before there was a “leave no trace movement,” it was what we were taught and what we did.

This upbringing probably contributed to my love affair with Big Sur. It was a natural extension of my wildness education in many of the most beautiful places in California and the West. I learned to water ski on Big Bear Lake and hike in the Sierras. We traveled to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and other wild places of the West. I wish others had the opportunities that I did. Sadly, most of these places are overcrowded and overrun now. The experience is not quite what it was. The wildness is becoming harder and harder to find.

One can find the rest of the article here: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/08/22/the-spirit-of-wild-places/

Enjoy.