Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Peter Valentine at his home near Central Square.

After the Aug. 9 death of Peter Valentine, an artist and eccentric whose Cambridgeport home became a landmark for its bright colors and otherworldly wisdom, Cathie Zusy submitted this because “it might inspire others to share their thoughts of this remarkable Cambridge figure.”

How I will miss Peter Valentine
At first I was afraid of him because he was so different.
And then I embraced just that —
Realizing how joyful, playful and kind he was as he dedicated himself
to making life interesting and to protecting us all from nefarious forces.
They were there, he said, and he didn’t judge them.
We just needed to manage them with our “I am.”

He dedicated his life to analyzing first principles and developing systems to protect the world and his beloved Cambridge, in particular, from threats, be they meteorites, hurricanes, aliens or infiltrating communists.
He often worked all night and met the day exhausted and overwhelmed.
There was so much to set right.
But he trusted the Cre-at-or.

For fun he created his Cosmic Moose and Grizzly Bear fence. This was his side gig.
(Saving and preserving humanity and creating an immortal civilization were his life’s work.)
A 3D poem, with images and positive guiding aphorisms, he built the fence to keep out the humdrum.

His home and his garden (of weeds) – destined to become a butterfly preserve – were his sanctuary. He held court from his steps, sidewalk out front and Central Square, often from a pink chair, engaging passersby in philosophical discourse. Each meeting was momentous and no encounter per chance.

I will miss Peter Valentine, whose alternate reality stretched me. It was an unspoken protest against normality. He modeled his protest with his colorful clothing and jewelry, his balsa wood instruments that ensured safety, the fence and his theater, all conceived and crafted by him.

Peter was ingenious. A problem solver. Untethered by society. A free man. He was wise, warm and full of love for humanity and especially for Cambridge, which had given him life, he said.

May you now be unburdened, Peter.
May you now be truly free.

Thank you for all of your efforts to inspire us to fully embrace our humanity.
We can’t let the robots win.

Cathie Zusy, Hamilton Street