Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Winter Landscape with Stream, 1931; watercolor on paper, 23 x 34 inches; Private Collection
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, February 4, 1915
Monday, February 4, 2019
The night of the 2nd brought cold freezing weather.
P.M. For a walk.
This has been one of the happiest afternoons I have spent for many days. Beauties I saw on my walk that were unexpected. I think the expectant poet is always a little disappointed.
Start out. I acquired a habit of, at times, walking along looking at the ground thinking of various themes, and missing often some of the beauties around me. So today I determined to use only my eyes & ears. It is a fine day - warm sunshine tempered by the cold breeze, streamed over the snow, mottled earth, dissolving into the blue distances. A blue haze was in the air. This was beauty enough for the walk, and I feasted my eyes.
Along southside of Bentley’s Near the end, a Peter-bird began to sing. I was enchanted, it was so unexpected. As I listened, I heard the stream in the hollow splashing over the stones, and I saw the sunlit earth, felt the wind which rustled the beech-leaves - it was the first day of Spring!
Presently nuthatches thrummed the air with their calls and the Peterbird ceased. A Downy called a few times.
At the willows I descended to the streamed and was delighted with the clear sparkle of the water as it curled around the sun-yellowed hill with its pattern of mottled snow and blue tree-shadows. At entrance to Farqhuar’s, a red-bird kept “chp”-ing from a grapevine tangle. It was only after a confused eye-searching that I found the author, a female. Meanwhile a Peterbird commenced to sing overhead and filled the air. I commenced sketching and was deeply engrossed when a recommenced to sing! I was so surprised & thrilled I stood perfectly motionless almost without breathing. The song was not repeated, and presently I saw two brilliant males and the female flying nervously around in the trees.
Along South of Farqhuar’s, feasting on the orange ground across the hollow from which rose the white beeches. Here I saw, and stood quite close to, a Peter-bird, whose appearance - small greyish body, black beak & eyes, hooded head, orange tinted breast and belly - quite came up to its song.
Again, I saw a chipmunk on the hillside.
To Dutchman’s - To approach the orange Cigar Mountain is a pleasure. The creek was quite normal again - the sudden cold wave had caught the water when it was high, however, and willows and other shrubs bore aloft girdle of thin ice, that drop from time to time with a tinny crash; while in the open places, the sunken ice looked as if a huge sheet had been dropped on the meadows, drooped around stumps and trees.
Homeward along Painter Road - with me, now was only the sunshine and the blue distances.
It should be the aim of man to bring myself into complete harmony with the Universe, so that no form of life, no aspect of Nature is unpleasant, but on the contrary, beautiful. This can only be done thru (sic) love.
Charles E. Burchfield, February 4, 1915