He wakes up at dawn and peeks out the window, looking for the heron feeding at the fishpond in the first light. No heron yet today. He starts the espresso machine, but cannot make coffee fast enough to clear out almost seven decades of fog from his head.
He sighs happily as he finally sips the familiar bitterness, which seem to flow directly into his bloodstream. The coffee restores consciousness. He watches out the window into the backyard, where the hummingbirds bicker over access to the feeders.
Almost every morning, he walks and sits throughout the backyard garden, often lingering over a small area. He knows where the tiny fish fry hide under the lily pads. He sees where the tadpoles tread water. He figured out where the grown frogs lay in wait to eat aphids and fruit flies.
So how did a 20.5 inch tall redwood tree suddenly appear in his back yard, next to his favorite bench, without him noticing?
Folks had called him Redwood man for years. He’d originally gone to Humboldt County to grow pot, but the morning after an LSD trip, he saw a friend sanding a redwood slab, and became enchanted with the tree’s unique grain. Redwood “burls” are twisted growths on the redwood. that provide vivid and beautiful grainy patterns.
Rather than growing pot, he tried and failed to make a living by crafting redwood furniture, but kept some of the finest examples of redwood grain for himself. He only worked on wood from downed trees, and never cut down a living redwood.
He always lived on the West Coast, within a mile or two of redwoods, so he could hug one on short notice, to recharge his batteries. Even today in northwest Oregon, there were redwoods in his neighbors’ yards, within sight.
Anyone with land gets volunteer tree seedlings. Winged seeds whirl down from the maples and take root. Tiny pines sprout globes of green needles, wherever stealth found them land. But the landscaper would yank up any unwanted seedlings long before they grew to 2 feet tall.
Yet this particular tree was over 2 feet high, or would have been if he hadn’t broke a couple of inches off of the top to peruse the foliage. How did it remain unnoticed?
He wondered if karmic forces had opened a vortex the previous evening, and snuck a 2-foot-tall redwood into Redwood Man’s yard from a adjacent reality.
That made as much sense as anything. The little redwood was next to a waterfall, which has known mystical properties, according to the internet.
The redwood sapling is also looking across a pond at the lotuses, which many also consider to have magical properties.
And wouldn’t it be just too karmically cool, that Gaia would plant a volunteer Redwood tree into the backyard of Redwood Man, to keep him company in his later years, when he'd never had a redwood on his own land before?
That would be an extraordinary claim, and needs extraordinary science to prove it up, so let’s get to work.
Here is foliage from the nearby redwoods, ornamental pines, and a red cedar, to compare to the mystery tree.
So it’s not a Redwood. Instead it tells a different story, about how the native cedars are slowly reclaiming a temperate, moist area that used to be called Cedar Hills, in bygone days.
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What have you noted in your area or travels? Any stealthy critters in your yard? Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.