February 2023

Beyond Words

Les Marcott | Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Les Marcott

We often wondered why you couldn't say or pronounce the simplest of words.  Oh, you could speak. But the mumble and jumble of sounds that erupted from your mouth was a language not known on this planet. Your excitement at times was overwhelming. You would grab us by the hand, you would point, you would gesture, you would turn our faces, you would try to make us understand thoughts that words could not attach themselves to.  And when we could not understand, you would scream and scream, and scream.  You would be tormented. It was like a fire was consuming you from head to toe.  But it could never consume your heart and soul.  And then…and then we received the news.  Autism was the diagnosis. Autism – I rolled the word around in my mind.  I repeated it over and over like it was the bubonic plague.  At the time it might as well have been.  It was as if darkness descended upon us. I wept. I wept for the thing I might not ever be able to share with you – my love for language.    But my son, we come from a people not too keen on self pity.  And while it's ok to jump back on the horse once you fall off, every now and then it's better to take the bus.

And then one night, I had a dream, a most beautiful dream.  You see, we were in this perfect place of lovely rolling fields consisting of the greenest grass you ever saw.  I was there, your mom was there in all her radiant beauty, and of course you were there.   The temperature was a perfect sixty-eight. Ok maybe seventy-two, your mom is a little cold natured. We ran up and down those gently rolling hills.  We threw a ball back and forth. We laughed, we frolicked and never grew weary. But the one thing that grabbed me and shook me to the core was the fact that we did not speak. I awoke and looked at your peaceful smiling face. Then I began to understand it all.  Words were not needed. We understood each other perfectly. Language was just a legend. Miscommunication was a thing of the past. The inarticulate speech of the heart was comprehended. Maybe my dear son, you're at a point even the greatest of writers never reach.  They try to create a mood, evoke a feeling, put forth an idea that goes beyond words.  You're already there. Your devoted papa still has a long way to go. But you, my son, have made my life fuller and richer.  Life is good.

Note:  I wrote this piece about 15 years ago.  It is about my son who has almost reached adulthood now.  Does he now speak? Yes, he does, sometimes too much, with conversations rambling, disjointed, and full of non sequiturs. But with those who deal with the challenges of autism, this type of communication is not uncommon. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each impacted individual has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.  My son, when not consumed by his challenges enjoys cartooning.  A career path for him involves graphic design. Ironically, however, his dream job is to become a voice actor. The Centers for Disease Control report that autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States.  


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Les Marcott | Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Les Marcott is a songwriter, musician, performer and a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.  For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2023 Les Marcott
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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