Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, 1944; watercolor on paper, 21 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches; Karen and Kevin Kennedy Collection
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 23, 1929
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Yesterday the summer Solstice, but for several days before and after it always seems like the actual day.
Hot, humid weather — a feeling of the perpetual steaming days of half rain & sunlight & rank vegetation that are supposed to be characteristic of the early days of this planet — I feel strongly the glory and power of full-blooded life.
(A huge yellow butterfly just lit on some purple Canterbury bells in the yard next door)
I sit here by the window of my little attic almost too full of happiness to write about it – a warm moist breeze comes in at times, bringing with it a multitude of sounds – the various noises of the roundhouse a mile away – bells, a sharp whistle, escaping steam — a steamboat from the Buffalo Harbor booms deeply—blackbird's calls — a short while ago the air was full of white blinding rain, — the earth now stands hushed – stagnant — plants drooping — the earth reeking —
I think of my new son — my first boy – only three weeks old – it seems incredible he is a boy – it is just a baby –
The day he was born [June 1] – when I went east along the road to get Edna — [unidentified person, possibly a babysitter] the first light of dawn coming thru bar-like openings in the northeast sky — to the southeast it was yet night – the waning moon making a splotch of light in the clouds above the creek –that was in deep black shadow —
Then later, when he, a couple minutes old, was placed in a basket just below me, he opened his eyes — and I was full of idiotic pride and exaltation because he was a boy —
Then later – when Bertha & he were brought home – and the little girls stood about in awed delight —
The dense clover back of my studio fills the air with rich odor — life is incredible.
The way to get the most out of life is to confine ourselves to a few simple things, so that we can absorb them thoroughly – I had the happy thought this morning of making a sunflower bed in front of my studio — when I was transplanting them I found one with an odd leaf — in a field of them I would never notice it – but among a few that I handle carefully, it becomes an individual —
Since we have bought this place it makes a difference — I like to think of it as a little community — a narrow strip of land – 33 x 450) in which the lesser creatures & insects belong as much as we do – Besides my wife & I, and our little children there are the hoptoads, and snails and angleworms – and visiting robins, starlings, sparrows, and grackles, and there aren’t so many but that they become familiar, and seem as if they might have names — they attain significance because the earth that supports them is ours – –