Learning From Walter

For all of my growing up years, I watched my father make frequent getaways to his chosen haven: Horn Island. Lately I contemplate this practice as a means of maintaining his sanity. His cottage on the family compound allowed connection with his family and all that represented, yet his island getaway insured connection with himself. Free from demands – imagined or otherwise – he was free to exist in his natural and unencumbered state. Horn Island was his paradise; trees, sand, wind and wave, birds, butterflies and curious and charming mammals were his daily bread. His drawings and watercolors were  means of manifesting love.

My recent wire creation of my father seems to speak to me of his capacity for love. He holds protectively a baby racoon, possibly taking it somewhere to set it free. I never knew this aspect of my father while he lived. He was barely present during my growing up years, and his infrequent presence was not a comfortable one. Even so, my imagination has led me to this image and allowed me to identify – somewhat cautiously – with the vulnerable creature held on his hand. Some part of me is alert to his wisdom and even his compassion. Some part of me knows he has my best interests at heart. Some part of me trusts him to carry me to where I need to be. But all of me longs for the haven where I can be free.

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