Connections: dawn redwood, part 0

Self-tutoring about tree identification and life: the tutor shares a story that connects him to dawn redwoods.

When I was a kid in elementary school, we had readers (as I’m sure everybody did). They had short stories in them whose topics were varied. The teacher would pick some to cover, but I don’t think we ever read all the stories in a year’s reader. Flipping to a title she requested, you’d pass other titles, some of which you’d eventually read, but some you never would.

Once more removed was a story in someone else’s reader that perhaps didn’t get read. I was in grade 8 of a 7-8 split (btw: it was the only split class I ever attended). Somehow, the grade 7 kids seemed to have really cool stories in their readers, while in grade 8, I don’t think we had readers anymore. Instead, we read novels and did book reports. I wasn’t familiar with the grade 7 reader because I was new there for grade 8, having taken grade 7 somewhere else. However, I met some grade 7 kids who sat in the next row and I paid attention to what they would do.

One title I noticed in the grade 7 reader was “The Dawn Redwoods.” The title intrigued me, because we were in a foggy, stormy village on the east coast, and I knew redwoods grow in California, where I had never been (and likely expected never to see). Furthermore, I wondered if the story was fiction or fact. The title, with the trees drawn behind it, sparked my curiosity. I wasn’t in grade 7, though, so I didn’t have a reader. Therefore, I couldn’t access the story.

More than once I noticed that title page as the kid beside me flipped past it to other stories. I don’t remember them ever reading “The Dawn Redwoods.” Years went by; I moved away. Yet, from time to time, that title would return to me. I can still picture its page in the reader….


The past summer, I discovered a conifer I couldn’t identify. I’d walked by it for 15 years without noticing; suddenly, one day, I did. Upon inspection, it’s unlike any native conifers here. Checking sources now and then, I’ve come to learn it’s a dawn redwood. Moreover, there is another one near it, along the same walk.

The connection between these dawn redwoods nearby and that story I noticed, but never read, 35 years ago, seems uncanny. Yet, I mention a similar situation with Elton John’s song “Elderberry Wine” back in my August 13, 2015 post.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.