When my daughter was three, she went through a ‘Band-Aid’ phase. Every day she would complain of a new boo-boo. Some were tiny scratches or paper cuts. Most were not visible to the human eye, and one was even a freckle. Still, she always insisted on a Band-Aid. She was somehow comforted by the magical healing effects of a colorful bandage. While the phase didn’t last long, it serves as a reminder, even today, that our hands can heal—whether the hurt is imagined or real.
“Heal”–Graphite and Watercolor
I grew up with an entire menagerie of animals. Strays had a way of just appearing at our house, and we had a way of just inviting them in. We gave them food, shelter, and love, and they gave right back to us. It’s only natural that I am inclined to want to pet every animal I come into contact with. It’s in my blood, my genes, my heart.
While it would be correct to say that I grew up in Daytona Beach, the truth is that I grew up on Daytona Beach. My siblings and I were tan from March through December. We spent so much time in the sea we often felt more ’fish’ than human. Back then, there were no beach tolls or beach patrols– only surfers and skim boarders, body surfers and swimmers—even our dogs were allowed to frolic beside us in the water. The ocean was our playground. We constructed enormous, elaborate sand castles complete with moats—no buckets, shovels, or plastic molds were needed. We built them with our bare hands. We were experts at dodging traffic as we flagged down the ice cream truck that drove up and down the shore, and we learned at a very young age what a ‘run-out’ was, and how to swim out of one. Although there have been many changes over the years to my beloved Daytona Beach, for me, it will always be home—a place to swim, sun, and just hang loose.
“Hang Loose”–Colored Pencil on Multimedia Paper
My obsession with sea turtles started when I was young. One balmy summer night in the late 1960’s, my parents roused my siblings and me from our slumber. Wiping the sleep from our eyes, we walked quietly down to the beach, the full moon lighting our way. I still remember how cool the damp sand felt under my bare feet. My mother held her finger to her lips as she led us to the dunes. There, bathed in silver moonlight, was a huge sea turtle laying her eggs. We kept our distance and swallowed our gasps, but at the time, it was the most magical thing I had ever witnessed. And so began my love of sea turtles. Since then, I have grown to respect the gentle giants and their amazing journeys. I marvel at the way they lead a double life on land and sea, the way their scutes become individual mosaics detailing their travels, the way their eyes show glimpses of the wisdom they have gained over decades of roaming the Earth’s oceans. I see them as the silent guardians of the sea. I can only imagine what things they have seen, the stories they could tell, the secrets they keep.
“Imagine”–Watercolor on Arches Aquarelle
I had what I consider to be an idyllic childhood. I grew up in Daytona Beach on a quiet little street in the 1960’s. Every Saturday, my siblings and I would mount our bikes and head out in search of adventure. My mother’s mantra “Safety First!” was always quoted as we rushed out the door, our dogs at our heels. We climbed trees and built forts, swam in the ocean and constructed elaborate sandcastles. We would finally come home as the sun was setting, full of dirt and sweat—exhausted, but still smiling. The world was a gentle place where kids could be kids, or at least that’s how I remember it. In our house, ‘technology’ was a corded rotary phone, a record player, and a TV that got exactly three channels. I’m sure bad things happened in the 60’s, but we weren’t bombarded by haunting images through dozens of TV stations, social media sites, and the internet. We were protected, innocent, happy—or maybe we were just lucky.
Will my daughter remember her childhood as idyllic, or will she be forever scarred by the memories of mass shootings, bombings, and murders? It is impossible to shield her from the media blitz that surrounds every heartbreaking event. I would say that I weep for the future, but I don’t. Along with the chilling images our children have seen, they have also witnessed the bravery of first responders, the genuine compassion of strangers, and the inviolable resolve of the human race. I still have hope. I still believe in humanity. And today, even after the terrible tragedy in Boston, my glass is still half full.
“Half Full”–graphite on paper