I wanted to share a “small world” story. My family has lived part-time in Idyllwild for more than 36 years. As a result, we experienced the joy of watching master chain-saw carver Jonathan LaBenne turn our massive “tree-in-the-road” in Fern Valley into our original, delightful Idyllwild Tree Monument. At one of our awesome lumberjack festivals, we purchased a small carving from Jonathan.

Jonathan has since moved to Wyoming, but continues his amazing artistry. Three years ago, we relocated from Irvine to Scottsdale, Arizona, but have maintained our lovely mountain getaway in Idyllwild.

Last week, we visited an animal park called Bearizona near Williams, Arizona. It is a lovely outdoor conservation area with beautiful western architecture and woodcarvings.

As we toured some of the exhibits, we noticed a chainsaw carver at work. Luckily, he had posted his biography and when we realized it was Jonathan, he greeted us like old friends when we told him we were from Idyllwild.

He has been commissioned to complete multiple projects at Bearizona so we hope many Idyllwilders will be able to journey there and pay him a visit. Small world, indeed.

Carol Steele