The Dipper and Dawn
One of my prized possessions is this
original hand-colored Mark Trail
comic that was left to me by my friend
Dawn. It tells the tale of the water
ouzel (aka American Dipper) in
Sequoia National Park. Dawn and I
shared a cabin together there in the
summer of 2000 when we were
rangers. She had long beautiful brown
hair and was very wise and calm, but
had a good sense of humor. She had
just been diagnosed with breast cancer
and chose to not go through
chemotherapy or surgery, so that was
the last summer of her life. Not long
after she passed away I received a
package in the mail from the Chief of
Interpretation for Sequoia, Bill
Tweed. He handled Dawn's final wishes
and sent me the comic, because she
knew I admired it.
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Fast forward to this last weekend
when we were hiking along the Walla
Walla River, Todd and I stopped to let
our son play in the water. There on a
rock was a Dipper, and she sat there
for a full half hour. Seeing any bird
sit still that long, especially with a
4-year-old kid splashing nearby,
seemed amazing to me. I couldn't help
but think of Dawn. RIP.