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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)

TITLE: Dust Mote Ballet
By Marita Thelander


My dusty art studio. How many months have slipped by since I’ve entered this room? Dust motes dance in the sunlight through the dirty window. The tiny particles of nothingness perform a silent ballet.

My eyes follow the beam of light out the window. The fall colors astound me; bright and brilliant, a gift to the eyes, indeed. I inhale deeply and exhale, turning my gaze away from the sunlit scenery. My focus lands on the neglected canvas. Black, grey, and deep blue paint strokes, carelessly thrown together in a weak representation of the view from this very room.

I remember that grey day of bluck, the morning after that day of dread.


“You have too much cerebrospinal fluid in your brain. The pressure from the fluid is what causes the constant headaches.” The doctor looked at me over his half-glasses.


“There isn’t a cure and treatment is experimental at best. We could try a shunt.”

Roaring fire rushes through my head.

“You could also lose your eyesight.”

My what? Like blind?

“Intracranial Hypertension.”


Before I knew it, the gavel hit the sound block. Judgment had been passed. An incurable disease with little hope would now be my life sentence. I left the doctor’s office, weighted down by invisible shackles on my hands and feet.


The roar in my ears causes such intense agony. An awful whooshing sound, I need to sit. I wish someone would remove the invisible knife that mysteriously jabs behind my left eye.

Scripture passages taunt me. Jesus laid hands on the sick and they were healed. Peter prayed for Tabitha and she was raised from the dead. James said to call forth the elders and pray the prayer of faith that the sick may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous is supposed to avail much.

Do I not have enough faith? Am I not righteous enough? Does God not see me as worthy of His miracles? Am I destined, like Paul, to have a thorn in my flesh?

The doctors say I could lose my eyesight. An artist that can’t see. Not that I’m making any money with my painting, but I’m just now starting to get somewhere with my work, selling at art shows and giving lessons.

The whooshing sound in my ears crescendos to an unbearable fortissimo that needs to be tempered. I hit the play button on the CD player next to me. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata instantly soothes the raging monster in my brain. Beautiful music yet, void of color. A moon-filled night. Dark yet, light.

I need to paint. I need to think. I need to process.

The large strokes on the canvas lay a foundation in which to build upon and prepare me: physically, mentally, spiritually, and above all, emotionally. Beethoven continues to set my pace and reduce the roar in my head.

Music history lectures from years gone by come to me in bits and pieces. Augmented chords, perfect fifth, I love the minor seventh. Haunting yet soothing at the same time.

Beethoven hated the fact that he was losing his hearing, a musician who cannot hear. I’m sure he felt his worth diminish. He wrote his Heiligenstadt Testament in an attempt to come to grips with his loss of hearing. He resolved to continue to live for and through his art form, his gift of music.

With my brush, I stream the moonlight beams down the dark backdrop and hear the doctor’s words: You could also lose your eyesight. Could. Not will. I’m not blind now. I let months slip away in a blind state of mind. What a waste.

My body moves in time with the symphonic sounds. I close my eyes to feel the music, and to my surprise, I see it. It isn’t void of color. I can hear the hues in Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and let my brush seek where to kiss the moonlit scene with touches of pink, purple, blue, and gold.

Oh, Father, please forgive my unbelief. My life is Yours. Use me as You will.

My eyes drift to the sunbeam that has shifted towards me with the passage of time. The dust motes mingle in the lazy orangeish-yellow shaft of light. Their dance for the day is about to come to an end.

Ah, but tonight is a full moon and the sky is clear. The dust mote ballet will continue when the moonbeam slips into my studio.

And I’m not blind.

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This article has been read 742 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 12/10/09
Very descriptive—easy to feel the emotions and "see" the experience. Well done.
Bryan Ridenour12/11/09
I was truly able to feel the emotion of this piece. Wonderfully written. Well done.
Kate Oliver Webb 12/14/09
I, too, felt the emotion in this piece; very expressive, and very well-done.
Beth LaBuff 12/15/09
I especially enjoyed the descriptions (with the chords) of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and the correlation of a musician losing his hearing to an artist losing his sight. Your surrender to the Lord's will, by your MC, was beautiful. Great work (as usual)!
Rachel Phelps12/16/09
Simply, hauntingly beautiful. Loved how you interwove the music and the art. Lovely!
Aaron Morrow12/16/09
The beautiful work of a master. Simply excellent, your weaving of the music, color, Spiritual and emotional processing was riveting.
Jim McWhinnie 12/16/09
Loved this beautiful, beautiful piece.
Catrina Bradley 12/16/09
The emotions and the pain are very real - well written tribute, my friend. Love the hope at the end, of course. And I'm not blind.