Once I was a bank of clay along a wetted marsh. I was content and silent, enjoying the natural sensations. One day an artist came, and with a strong, forceful knife, he cut me, again and again, until I was a lump of my former self. He took me to a strange place and with torturous strength he kneaded me. He threw me on a potter's wheel. He squeezed me. He punched me. He poked me. It seemed to never end. He bent me and thinned me out. I was no longer anything like I once was. Then the wheel stopped! He held me up to a mirror. I was beautiful! The pain had made me beautiful and useful. Now I could rest, I thought. I had become what I was meant to be. But wait! Where am I going now? To a firing kiln? Fire? More pain? Why, artist, why? "My little pot, you are the shape you'll always be, the design I planned for you, but unless I fire and glaze you, you will not endure. I hope you understand, it will not be for long, and then you will be the model for my other student's pots." And so I endured the fire, with anticipation of what I might someday inspire.