My mom loved Southwest art. My dad loved my mom. I loved them. When the eagle kachina dropped into our lives, I was greedily snatching as much time with them as I could, building memories.
One day my dad called and said he’d found an art piece for mom. “Not like yours,” he said wryly.
“Oh, bummer,” I said.
We both giggled, remembering the day years before when I’d announced that I’d bought my first art piece. “Does it have horses?” he’d asked. Of course it did.
“So what is it, Indian stuff?” I asked now, referring to mom’s penchant for all things Southwest, right down to their interior décor.
“Of course,” he said. “But it’s big, so when you come down for Christmas will you take me to get it?”
“Absolutely.” I was touched, my parents never asked for much.
A Family’s Last Holiday
So at Christmas that year, I drove dad downtown to pick up his gift for mom. We got it safely home and unwrapped it together, while Dad told me the story of how they found it. Dad was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, so it fell to me to giftwrap it, ironic, since he had taught me the art of giftwrapping when I worked for him in his business.
We didn’t quite know what to make of this art piece: about two feet wide and tall, it was a copper sculpture, partly painted turquoise, with a curious mixture of human and really big bird. We knew it was the artist’s representation of native American art and spirituality, but that was it: we were appreciative, but ignorant, barbarians.
Eagle Kachina, the tag said. Expensive and hard to wrap, I thought, and not my taste.
But it was clearly my mom’s. Christmas Eve she ripped off my lumpy wrapping and spent the next week dragging Mr. Eagle Guy, as we called it, around the house, trying to decide where to hang it.
I reveled in that Christmas. I got to help my dad give a gift to my mom. I got to listen to my mom babble about it. And I got to share a small family moment with my parents, a moment where we celebrated and had fun together, glorying in the family bond. In community.
As it turned out, it was also the last Christmas I shared with my parents. My dad died in June, and my mom 10 months later.
The Eagle Kachina Comes Home … Sort Of
When we closed up their home, my brother and I sorted out who got what. I insisted on taking Mr. Eagle Man, not because I really liked it, but because it was a concrete reminder of a wonderful last holiday with my parents, at a time when illness and disability dulled all three of us.
No question the piece came home to live with me.
Years went by. Years when I moved the piece around the house. It was beautiful, yes, but not my taste.
It also didn’t belong in my home.
Things like this happen. However they end up with us, the objects in our life don’t always fit. Sometimes we change, or they do, and it’s time for them to move on. The trick is to recognize that and to figure out what happens next.
Truth is, the eagle kachina never fit in my home. These days I work as a professional intuitive, which means I talk with things, from animals to businesses, homes, nature, and, yes, objects, including this piece. Back then I only knew that the piece was sentimental but just plain felt odd to me. It didn’t belong with me. Finally acknowledging that, I thanked it for its service to my family, and asked it to start looking for a new home, while also promising that I would not simply discard it. It was beautiful, full of family memories, and also represented an artist’s vision of a sacred object. It needed to call, and be called, home. Wherever home was.
It stayed with me for a long time, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t find out anything about the piece or the artist, or how to properly, well, rehome it. Not surprising, I guess, because it had been years, and the artist might have moved on, literally and artistically.
The Search for Home
Years went by.
One day, my new friend Tara came by. I was showing her my small condo, and she took one look at the eagle kachina and said, “When you’re ready to sell that, let me know.”
She told me that she collects Southwest art, and she thought my piece would fit well with a large metal sculpture that she’d purchased several years before. She’s a real estate agent and a Reiki master with an easy strong intuition, so when she said she wanted the piece, I just smiled.
She suggested that the store she’d bought her large piece from would know how to value it. So I emailed Hogan Trading Company with a picture and a question.
They promptly emailed back: not only could they put a value on it, they represented the artist, Dale J. Anderson. I spent a few minutes exploring his art at their website. Intriguing. After years wondering, all it took to find the artist was a new, visiting friend.
Strange small world. Awesome universe.
More time went by, because truth is, even when special pieces have to go, a part of you still clings to them. The kachina had to go. Talking with the piece, I knew that it belonged with Tara. The kachina and I both needed time to separate from each other: it was as if we’d both been waiting for its new home to show up before we could really say goodbye to each other. There had to be a new community before the old one could end.
Finally, I told Tara to come get it. Even though she’d only seen it once, briefly, months before, she promptly agreed.
I carefully wrapped it and Tara took it home.
Not long after, she called. The eagle kachina fit perfectly in her home: its beauty and its energy felt great. She was thrilled because it went so well with the treasured, large sculpture she’d invested so much in.
The odd extra touch: when she unwrapped it, she discovered the two pieces were by the same artist.
The eagle kachina really was home.
Treasures of Community
Truth is, I could have kept the piece in the family, or put it up for auction, or done any number of things with it. But the only thing I felt right about was honoring my parents’ love and family bond by finding another family that would fit this piece. It needed a community, and I couldn’t let it go without that.
Its home now is with Tara. For me, the circle is complete. I’ve been lucky enough to meet new people in a new community, and the eagle kachina has bridged both of them. It’s home now. And so am I.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz