When the American painter Andrew Wyeth was living in New England, he had a neighbor named Christina Olson, who suffered from a muscular disorder that paralyzed her lower body and turned her arms emaciated. Christina didn’t want any help; for all her pain and agony, she did – and wanted to do – everything on her own.
Some say that Wyeth painted Christina’s World when he saw her trying to crawl back to her home, from the fields surrounding the Olson homestead. How she got to the fields, nobody knows; all Wyeth saw was the woman crawling, dragging herself back to her house. Owing to her condition and her stubbornness, there was no other choice for Christina but to crawl.
Not on her own two feet, but through her weakened hands and arms. Christina struggled, but she wanted to get back home on her own. She dragged herself through the field; clutching blades of grass, wounding her hands from pebbles and rough soil. Her deformed body, supported by her twisted spine, moved along the terrain slowly. Inch by inch, Christina Olson crawled back to her world. The fields weren’t her place, but the house she was trying to reach was her universe. Had she indeed been alone, had she been thrown out into harsher weather, and if she had a weaker spirit and resolve, she certainly would have expired right then and there in the knoll.
I guess no one is certain of how long it took – and how difficult it was – for Christina to crawl back to her house, but she wanted to make it there on her own. Christina was too stubborn and too proud to be lifted back into her home by anyone. All that stood between Christina and her home was a sloping field that would take any other able-bodied person no less than three minutes to traverse.