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Some Kids I Have Known

Seasons come and seasons go. Winter to spring, spring to summer and summer to fall. With every season comes a challenge, and you will always have the seasons we are told. The stride of the walker makes those ones we know ever sauntering, sometimes, limping, licking their wounds, only to pick up speed going into a jog. They are ever moving, pushing to accomplish and then after obtaining this goal, dissatisfied with it and wishing to move forward to another.

The first time the realization came to Merle that her child would never walk was when the girl's six month old brother was holding to the walls of the hallway while he easily tottered along. Any mother would have rejoiced and admittedly there was joy. However, the joy was riddled through with the deepest despair and sorrow. So much so that she sank into the easy chair close by and wept into her hands. All the years of therapy, moving to a large city for the best doctors, and yes even prayer fell down around her like so many broken beads from a necklace. If she could have reached out to gather the pieces together there was the realization, they could never be aligned correctly once again.

The ease with which the well child walked along made it more than clear the stiff, rigid limbs of their precious eight years old cerebral palsied daughter would never carry her along as easily as this well child now moved.

Quickly she wiped her eyes, rose from the chair and put on a broad smile as she called to her husband to witness the site of his first son, easily walking down the hallway. This was the way it was going to be. The heart break, the grinding sorrow, the driving, push to continue to work away those sorrows all became imbedded into Merle's constitution. To cover these depths of pain she made a vow there would be no knowledge of these sorrows shared with the people close around her. She covered her tears with the splattering sound of the shower if need be. Only her husband knew of her occasionally breaking through with sobbing all through a total night while he held her close to him and let her cry.

Deliberately seeking the beauty of the creator's works and recording them on canvas could at this time be called an obsession. At the time, though, there was not a great bend toward the science of psychiatry so she was left to her work. She often worked late into the night while her children slept and because there was no neglect of the children during the day it was considered as to being her own business and she was given freedom to deal with her sorrow in this way.

In the city many were the folks who wished to have a portrait of themselves, their pets, or maybe sometimes, just a splash of abstract color to decorate an elegant apartment. There was no profit as far as money was concerned. Just to pay for paint, canvas and occasional seminars was all Merle worked to achieve.

For those around her who held envious green colored glasses to look through toward her boundless energy, the woman simply wrapped another film of abandoned fear around and about her soul. Like an athlete competing with strength in a contest, she tapped the back of her javelin to the ground before she raised it to hurl it toward the target, at an unknown point ahead of her. If snide remarks were directed toward her as to the fact she was wasting her "God given talent to art," she simply laughed and quoted Edison or Einstein, which was it, who said, "genius is "99.9% perspiration and 01% inspiration."

"God gave me the strength, the love of his creation, and the colors in the earth for paint." "The rest of it I had to fight to learn, and I might add with, probably, what is less intelligence than those who accuse me of having been given a gift."

For every mountain there truly is a plain. The hard shell of trial and pushing to achieve, not success, but just a level simple life has been the gift. As Merle reached to understand the veins of flowers, so her children did too and were able to see, often more readily than she did. The perspective of color she memorized and was rewarded when her children and those around her as well, looked across vistas and could point out the progression of color.

"There is one cliche to which one must bend," Merle in her beginning of wisdom, noted. This is the well known quote. "In order to be an artist, one must suffer." Merle laughed with true honest feelings of merriment. "For all the world, there is certainly one trite comment to which I will readily bend," and she repeated, "In order to be an artist, one must suffer."

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