Sunday, September 13, 2009

Free Willy

I'm sitting here watching "Free Willy". I bought the film for two reasons. One is that I want my grandchildren to know how important it is to take care of nature and to be the caregivers of this incredible earth we all share together. The second reason? I want them to know Keko and my story of this magnificant creature.

December 15, 1996, my daughter heading to Hawaii on the first day of her honeymoon. Family and dear friends from back east had come out to Oregon join the celebration. I decided that since it was a gorgeous Oregon day, I would give them a real taste of Oregon by heading down the coast. We visited lighthouses, walked on the beach reveling in the beauty of the rugged western shore.

Finally, we ended the trek at the aquarium in Newport. Even though it was closing time, we were given a few minutes to make a wild dash to see what we could see. Of course, we all took off to see the most famous attraction.

Keko made a few rounds in his pool as we ran from viewing window to window trying to get the best possible view. After a bit, everyone else ran off to explore the rest of the aquarium. I stayed behind.

Three months before, my father had died. Changes were happening in my life. Changes I could not control. Luckily, at the time, I had the wedding to occupy my thoughts, but now that was over. Now was the time to deal with endings and beginnings.

I stood by the viewing window wondering how I was to do this thing called living. Sadness descended over me like a blanket. Silently, Keko swam over to the window his enormous body filling the wall of windows. As if suspended by invisible strings, he floated there his huge eye looking at me. It was as if he could see into my very sould. He sensed my loneliness, and I felt his as well.

Keko gave something to me that day. Maybe it was hope. Or something more. One thing I did know for sure was that I had a great deal to give to my family, to myself. I found a way into my own nature allowing that voice in side of me to sing.

When Keko was freed, I cried. When he died, I felt the loss. But the lesson, the compassion I felt that day will forever be in my heart. I hope I can pass this on to my grandchildren. I was indeed given a gift.

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