Today I picked this up off the floor; it’s Meriwether’s math work from today.


This is the way every single math paper I have ever seen her complete looks. During the brief time we had her in public school, her teacher mandated that she not draw on her papers. Meri, who is incredibly obedient, complied. She’d come home every day with animals winding their way up her hand and arm, because she couldn’t NOT draw. (Man am I glad we pulled her out of that school.)

In our house, an unguarded pen lasts about nine seconds. Meri grabs them all. A ream of paper never makes it to a week. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of drawings, spilling out of drawers and off beds and drifting into piles of white papers in the corners of the rooms.

At any given moment, Meri is either drawing or writing or thinking about what she’s going to draw or write. As a result, she will often walk into trees, off the top step without realizing she’s near the stairs, and across wide expanses without the slightest clue where she’s going.

We call her Fairyfeather for a reason.

This is Meri at seven:


This is one of the pictures she drew that fall–not her best, just one of the ones I grabbed as it tumbled down the stairs or slid off her desk.


This is Meriwether at eleven.


I just went around the house and picked up three of the first drawings I saw on the floor–I think there’s a footstep stain on one, actually. There’s no way we can keep up–it’s like a Great Northern Paper convention in here.



I think this one was part of a fake dog magazine–she had about seventeen ads all written up, for coat-fluffing products and Cover Dog cosmetics. This was for an upcoming all-dog-all-the-time theatre production:


Am I proud of her? Of course. She’s got a long way to go, and some college art professor is going to crush her by telling her where her proportions are weak, but her sense of gesture is strong and she’s got an astounding amount of confidence. She never erases ANYTHING.

Am I driven absolutely nuts by this? Oh, you betcha. Seriously, if there were a fire in the house, within seventy seconds Honour (the ten-year-old) would have everyone outside, dogs in pop-up crates, cats secured in travel boxes, with two changes of clothes for each human, bottled water, and she’d be brushing Tabitha’s hair and braiding it so she’d look good for the firemen. Meri would be fighting to get back inside so she could draw the bureau being consumed by flame.

But mostly I am struck, every time I see one of these, by what a deeply lovely person Meri is turning out to be. She is so intensely captured by beauty. She is so devoted to innocence. She has been learning about, well, the birds and the bees and all that (my kids know the mechanics young–we breed dogs here, and there’s very little left to the imagination after that–but at eleven she is a little more curious about the romance and love and attachment and attraction part, so I’ve been “hiding” books for her to find AND YES, MERI, IF YOU READ THIS, YES, IT’S OK). And because she is such an incredible sweetheart, you can see her working through these terribly serious and heavy themes by exploring teenage cat pregnancy, abandoned lactating dogs, and poor poisoned canine Juliet up there.

She’s the one who makes sure our family recycles and composts. She takes care of the horse every day. When she is not screeching at Tabitha, she will read to her or draw pictures for her for HOURS. She has a tender, loving heart.

And–look at the problem she did under the poor pregnant cat–she can’t subtract one from four. MERI, HONEY, THE CHILD I ADORE AND WORSHIP THE GROUND UPON WHICH YOU WALK? GO BACK AND FIX THAT ONE.

3 thoughts on “Fairyfeather

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