A prodigious painter rose to great acclaim for his life-changing art. In particular, his portraits not only brought-out hidden qualities of people but also their latent talents, gifts that individuals never knew they possessed. Peasants, merchants, and royalty alike had changed their circumstances having seen themselves in the painter’s light. However, his genius was not without a drawback. The painter, whether out of an unconscious fear or a defense mechanism, could not paint his own portrait. In fact, he could neither recall nor see his own reflection in the mirror contrary to those around him. Those who he implored to paint his portrait or even to take his photograph could make no sense out it; everyone but him could see him. One day, the painter met a blind man who asked if he could take his portrait. Curious as to who the portrait would be for, the painter inquired and the blind man responded “for you”. When the painter finished the portrait, he saw not the blind man in front of him but a young man behind a canvas with purposeful eyes and a deliberate hand. The blind man was not so blind after all.
An old painter would come and sit on a park bench everyday for hours, rain or shine, beneath a massive oak tree. Taking out his sketch-pad, he would draw the oak, again and again but placed in different settings with ever-changing perspectives, styles, and moods. Sometimes, the tree stood impressive, towering above the land as if contending with the center of the world. Other-times, the tree was bent but never broken as it struggled against the elements. Always, the tree remained true as it reached for the stars.
One day, a young woman who also frequented the park approached the painter to ask what was special about the oak tree. The painter turned to the woman and sensed a likeness like an echo from a distant past that found its way back. Sensing the affinity, he replied that he married his beloved underneath this oak tree but had lost her to a long bout with cancer. In his old age, he began losing memories of her, even forgetting what her face looked like at times. The young woman, feeling the painter’s sentimentality, asked if she could pose to help keep-alive memories of his wife. The painter nodded, took out his colors, and started painting.