If you’ve been reading these letters, you know I am on a path to self discovery; to discover what has always been inside me but I never allowed myself the time to unlock. Well, I went out of my comfort zone and took a solo trip to Alaska, a trip I have dreamed of doing since I was a teenager. Among the countless things Alaska offers, a huge part of the desire was so I could see whales out in the wild. 

Humpback whales, unlike so many other marine mammals, migrate solo. Except, in the very first year of their lives, a calf and its mother stick together so the mother can teach the calf the pattern of their migration. When that year is over, they both go freely into the wild, solo. Moving forward with the knowledge that they now have from their time together.

This print, Whale Hello, was originally inspired by the intimate relationship between a mother and child. On one leg, the mother whale is leading the calf, teaching it all she knows. The other leg, the calf is leading the mother to depict how a child really is teaching their mother as much as she is teaching them. Which could also be a symbol of our connection to mother earth as well, how she teaches us more than words can describe and we should humbly follow her guidance.

Now that I am finally here, contemplating the meaning of life as Alaska does to you, and now having witnessed these beautiful animals in the wild, solo… I see this print in a deeper light, in which the whales are a depiction of our relationship with self; a previous version of ourselves, our inner child, and even our future selves, leading and guiding the decisions we make everyday. 

When I was younger, I thought very intentionally about the future version of Haley. Would she be proud of me? Would she think I fulfilled my potential? Would she feel like I made the right choices? And now, I challenge myself to lean on what would my wild hearted, imaginative, inspired, pre-societal pressure, inner child do? Would she be proud of me? Am I living the life she dreamed? 

When I think about this print in this light, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the previous version of myself that went above and beyond what she should have done, for the betterment of my future. And though I will always feel inspired by the future version of Haley I have looked to for guidance thus far, I see now how much there is to learn from that wild, child-like sense of wonder I do not want to lose.

So Whale Hello, to always allow ourselves to learn. Learning from our mothers and from our children, from our earth, and our inner child. 

I hope you enjoy this one! 

July 22, 2022 — Haley Byfield

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