Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Edge of the Woods in Sunlight, 1915; watercolor and pencil on paper, 9 x 12 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 12, 1915
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
A clear sky – hot sunlight – ripple of white over windy trees - Robin & wren -
Whistling of wind in sultry air white top trees jutting sunwards -
P.M. to Beech Camping Grounds with F. [Frank] & J. [Jim].
Sultry afternoon. On way – white edged trees boiling up from sweeping YG, sorrel reddened, and white plowed meadows, bobolink bubbling over bristling grass; wood nymph butterflies dart - dancing in the cool green shade.
At Beech I sat all afternoon and listened, enthralled by the bird-songs - I heard them in a new light today – i.e. watching how strikingly different songs cane up against others; with the diverse feelings each gave – guttural yipe of sheitpoke (muddy murky ponds, dragonflies knitting back and forth, frog blungs & lily pads) followed by haunting wistful phoebe’s “Treerie” (early morning sun-shot misty trees).
Bobolink’s sparkling bubbling notes (wind-bent clover, rippling wheat, sun-glowed willow cotton) then robins buoyant song (horizon sun gilding trees at sunset); rollicky song of rose-breasted grosbeak (sun haze wood depths & steaming swamps) then iron clanking call of sparrow-hawk (cool mornings mushrooms pushing up thru hard September Pastures); A crow’s harsh cawing (early March wind swept days) the meadowlarks clear piercing whistling (sun bursting over an April field)- resounding call of American Mockingbird. (cool green glades, late spring flowers in full go) So I sat in the hazy air, steeped in the days glory - Clear-blue shadowed trees standing motionless in the sun haze - Kingfishers clickering, chippering swallows; yellowbird; water reflection running up over willow's trunk; mourning-dove with his remote call gave me glympses of forgotten summer mornings - [Burchfield inserted a comment in ink many years later, with an arrow pointing to the word “Spring” at the top of the page:] (Picking raspberries in Post’s)
At sunset – sun becomes red ball in violet sky – Evening calm – trees motionless rainbow sky. Phoebe is persistent till dark. I cannot speak enough of its beauty. Bats come forth; fire started – after glow in sky. Whippoorwills come remotely from across night – misty marsh – emerald fireflies popping among the shadows; tree frogs - The even chorus: Tree frogs' harsh clatter dominant with grotesque frog-blungs filling in the intervals; an undertone of phoebe bird and whippoorwill; a harmony of cool breeze stirrings - daylight even at 10:00
Wading up & down water –
Home over dark roads – Trees are huge misshapen black hunks against the starry sky –