Redwoodman, a member since 2006 whose 6412093 username was also his user ID, lived the three pillars of Daily Kos: News, Community, and Action. In his unique voice, Redwoodman told stories celebrating his love of nature, unions, and the fight for environmentally sound projects. His most recommended story told of two undocumented migrant laborers a gardener brought along “to help repair my garden walkways by leveling the paths and laying paving stones.” Knowing they likely were paid low wages due to their immigration status, Redwoodman called a friend who was head of the local cement masons’ union and “connected them with well-paying union jobs as tile setters.”
A founding member of the Backyard Science group, many of his 453 stories were whimsical Daily Buckets featuring the Frog Court and his backyard Frog Mitigation Area, consisting of three ponds and a vortex. There, Redwoodman, the self-proclaimed Senior Investigator for Frog Court, immersed himself in the lives of frogs and dragonflies, alert to the quiet arrival of Billy, the belly-flopping Great Blue Heron.
When Frog Court Judge Jeremiah Bullfrog asked to use this space for beloved Community member Redwoodman’s memorial, he forgot that Frog Court meets in that special backyard where the energy vortex, “a magical location where the veneer between several realities is wearing a little thin,” makes possible easy relationships among vertebrates and inverts. Since we cannot hear their eulogies without the “electromagnetic translators” Redwoodman created to interpret the creatures’ grunts and chirps, only we humans are able to share our tributes.
“Redwoodman exemplified what it means to do science in your backyard: watching and wondering about nature in his daily life, sharing what he learned,” observes OceanDiver. “He had an uncanny talent for entering the spirit of the creatures he knew. He was humble as a chorus frog, fierce as a heron, gentle as a pond lily, playful as Doug the squirrel. His hilarious long-running saga of Frog Court was a stinging satire of the bureaucratic machinations used by developers finagling the legal right to exploit nature. Redwoodman’s creativity was both literary and practical. He got stuff done by advocating for those who need help, and exposing the exploiters.”
Angmar, who collaborated with Redwoodman when writing stories, remembers him as “one of my first friends here. He was witty, ironic, and well-informed about the environment. A truly talented and original writer, I was lucky to know him. He’s probably the most interesting person I’ve met and he had a heart as big as a retention pond.”
In 2018, Redwoodman wrote about his cancer diagnosis and then told of the treatment that led to a remission a few months later. He claimed the Community’s support and good cheer made him feel better than the cannabis that “helps me coast along amid tides of fears and emotions.” He noted that “dozens of folks confided in their comments that they were experiencing various stages of their own cancers, from those in full remission who had fought it for a decade, to older men like myself with newly-discovered prostate cancer … Most of us shared a cry together. Their support helped me overcome a special kind of loneliness. I’ll always marvel that so many folks, whom I’ve only known through arguments over politics or discussing Cooper’s Hawk identification, would take the time to bare their own emotions in sympathy with my plight.” That remission ended earlier this year, and Redwoodman died at home on May 23.
BrownsBay summed up his reminiscence, ”The gentle kindness of that man simply exuded. Such a nice man as there ever was. I am so sad, so much so, for his friends and family. Frog Court is now adjourned.”
OceanDiver claims, “I will greatly miss Redwoodman’s presence on Daily Kos. But I can hear him now in the chorus of frogs joyfully calling from the wetlands near my home. If you listen, you may hear him too.”
Whether you connected with Redwoodman as a fellow union supporter, environmental activist, nature lover, cancer patient, or speaker to frogs, please share your memories in a comment.
Four Rescued Stories from 1 PM PDT Friday, June 4 to 1 PM PDT Friday, June 11, 2021
Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers rescued at least 75 of Redwoodman’s stories. We always looked forward to seeing one publish on our shifts, although often his stories didn’t need our help to attract readers.
We look for well-done work offering an original point of view that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. At least one Ranger reads every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome work that deserves more recognition, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday at 7:30 p.m Pacific time. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years.
In Democrats need more accountability, GShaw suggests eight accountability reforms that can help ensure the Democratic Party doesn’t become “an official opposition party … that is allowed to win some seats but faces a situation so gerrymandered and rigged against them that this represents only a token show of democracy.” GShaw joined in 2014 and has written 83 stories. This is their first rescue.
The Barnum Effect and the GOP: A peek inside the freak show examines “the delusions Americans have of ourselves regarding race, money and power” through the lens of P. T. Barnum. Vjr7121 claims that America is hostage to “the systemic racism that permeates our founding premise,” with the GOP ignoring what many of the most-quoted sections of the Constitution really mean. “The Barnum Effect” provides a license to ignore what’s inconvenient and results in today’s carnival barker-esque approach to politics. A member since 2017, Vjr7121 has written 180 stories, with 25 rescued.
In We won’t dump the electoral college, and I don’t even think we should. Do this instead, Textus describes two election reforms to “protect us from the instability our system now demonstrates … What we need is a system that reduces areas of contention and increases the rights of the people … It needs to create an electoral college that better reflects the proportionality of the vote, reducing—even eliminating—cases in which the popular-vote loser wins the electoral vote.” Textus joined in 2004 and has written 119 stories. This may be their first rescue.
“Talk to me when the sky has darkened the sun
When rivers run dry and when there are none
Who can roll back the time when flowers remain,
And everywhere looks like a deserted plain”
This is the first rescue for BellaEssex, who joined in 2020 and has written three stories.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).
** Yesterday, siab also wrote a memorial story that includes more text from Redwoodman’s stories that tell of his life—RedwoodMan (6412093) has left us (update on a fuller memorial tomorrow/Saturday)—and people left memorial comments.