Dena Hawes

4. An Acute Awareness of the Magnetic Pull, 1996

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Still Point Theatre 01

Just after birth.

She enters the ocean and swims up to several thousand miles, before returning to her place of birth. To give birth.

How does she know her way back?

They say she has an acute awareness to the magnetic pull. She is born complete. Intact with her own internal compass and map.

The turtle is a woman who has no roots and wears her home.

She is intuitively aware of her origin and her purpose.

She is aware of the challenges that confront her.

I judge and remember bodies of water by their taste, their feel, their color. Tides can be figured from charts, but gales come seemingly from nowhere. Calm seas are rare and do not last. Sudden barometric changes indicate unsettled weather.

The act of swimming is a metaphor for endurance, and water is permeable space.

She swims. She swims. She searches for home.

I needed to concentrate on both the cold water and the distance. I found that I could trust the water and the pocket of air that will be there when I turn to breathe.

To swim with ease. Choosing the path of least resistance becomes instinctual—the search for still water that will best propel her forward.

She has done this so many times that it is effortless.

It is difficult to express how comfortable I am when immersed in the inspiration of water. How at home I am, how sure of myself, how trusting. Maybe it is naïve, or maybe it is just knowing, but I truly feel invincible.

To immerse oneself in water is to fill one’s soul with inspiration.

An inspiration that sees no obstacles.

And this story of the sea turtle and the woman, is everything I know, and the most that I can offer.

Dena Hawes, Pittsburg, KS, 1996

Excepts in italics and some paraphrasing are from the book "Swimming the Channel: a Widow's Journey to Life" by Sally Friedman

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