R. Redford

"Sheltering the Creative Spirit"

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Taos, New Mexico USA





                                                            Entrance to Waters' Property


"Waiting for Robert Redford" from Celebrating the Coyote, by Barbara Waters

I keep waiting for Robert Redford to show up here.  Of course, he has never been formally invited, but one horse whisperer ought to be able to read the mind of another horse-snake-dog whisperer.  My husband was slightly put out with him for deciding to make the movie “Milagro Beanfield War,” by Taoseno John Nichols, instead of a “Man Who Killed the Deer” movie.  But then Frank said Hollywood would have botched it anyway; they could never make his book into a decent picture.

For some years I have been closely watching Redford’s work.  Contrary to Frank’s belief, I’m convinced that during this millennium Redford will be able to do full justice to the subtleties of  Deer, the story of an introverted Taos Indian trying to survive in his mid- 20th century pueblo world.  Publisher Marcia Keegan and several others have recommended to Redford that he film Frank’s novel.

After Marcia intervened, she said to Frank, “Now it’s your turn to carry the ball. Call Redford and talk to him.  He’s heard what a great book The Man Who Killed the Deer is. And he’s in Taos right now visiting John Nichols.”

Imperiously, Frank replied, “He knows where to fine me."                                           

True, Nichols calls Milagro an “albatross.”  Although it’s his most talked-about book, John considers it neither his own best book nor Redford’s best movie.  Having a failed deer hanging around one’s neck would be worse than an albatross.  Redford may be wise in keeping his distance so far. 

A Smithsonian article about the real horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman, mentions one of my favorite books: Kinship with All Life.  It has influenced Brannaman, too, in his relationships with animals.  And Buck taught Redford his animal approach for the movie “Horse Whisperer.”  Already we’re tuning in on the same wave length. 

If need be, in Taos we can further the handsome actor-director’s education with deer whispering.  I feel the time growing nearer when waiting for Robert Redford will result in another residency cabin paid for by sale of Deer book rights to the movies, and in movie marquees lighting up hearts of Frank Waters fans the world over.

On June 3, the anniversary of Frank’s death, we placed long-stemmed yellow roses upon his granite deer altar.  Across the miles their heady incense wafted my thoughts to Robert Redford.                                                                                                                       

“You know where to find him.”

For it is not difficult to find him here at his marker; in our hearts; in his books; wherever the spirit is true and pure, good, gentle and loving, giving.


Please Proceed to Book Review, Celebrating the Coyote.


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