An Untamed Island Meets Its Match

As I stood on the splintered boat dock with John Anderson looking south across Mississippi Sound to Horn Island, his lion’s mane of hair blew straight back, as if we were already bumping across the water, underway for the island. But the Gulf of Mexico was especially choppy, and the boat I hired was heeding small-craft warnings. Horn lay eight miles offshore, a hyphen on the horizon’s hazy line. Still, it felt within our grasp. “The fact that I can’t always go makes me value the island even more,” he said. John became an expert on the island by way of his father, the artist Walter Anderson, who made more trips to Horn than probably anyone else. He called spring “battle of the equinox,” when Boreas, Greek god of the north wind, and Notus, of the south, fought for supremacy and kept the sea in constant turmoil. I’d seen the battle many times over the years while I was researching a book about the Gulf. I’ve been fascinated with Horn since I first visited the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Miss., years ago. From the end of World War II until his death in 1965, Anderson […]

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