In February of 2001, Danielle and I were driving through the chain of bridges connecting the Florida Key islands, tossing around possible baby names for our unborn boy. Danielle was thumbing through a fat book of baby name ideas; I’d asked her to read through some of the nordic names. She hit upon Bjorn, and read the meaning.
So wait a minute. Parents in Norway just go ahead and name their kids Bear? Without encoding it in another language or anything? Just Bear? That’s awesome.
And that was it, Bear was Bear right then. And we’ve never regretted it.
Bear moved away to college a couple weeks ago, and in the days leading up to his move he asked his family to paint some small canvases he’s bought so he could chain them together and bring them to his dorm. What a cool idea.
Being the person I am, I procrastinated until literally the last day he’d spend at home. Not out of my usual laziness, but from a sense that I wanted to make something good for him and I couldn’t latch onto an idea I thought worthy of his project, coupled with a general tendency to delay the inevitable nostalgic sting for rare heartfelt jobs like this.
So I drew him a map of an island.
I asked Bear if it was ok that I share it here, since it’s a map. He was cool with it. And, guess what? He had also painted a map for the series. He’s good!
Here’s the collection.
A few months after naming Bear, he was born on a small island—the only baby in Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. I remember leaning over his isolette, thumbing a heartbeat tempo with my thumb on the plastic, thinking it might be a comforting sound. I found myself tapping the same tempo on the steering while on the drive to drop him off at college, remembering that day with a bit more vividness.
Anyway, I’m terribly proud of him.