Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Four Seasons, 1949-1960; watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 55 7/8 X 47 7/8 inches; Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Festival of Arts Purchase Fund 1961-2-1
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 27, 1914
Monday, August 27, 2018
Usually these mornings the oriole only utters single notes or fragments of song. This morning I heard him give his song full & clear twice. I thought I had heard it before. The second time I looked instantly in that direction and saw him flying thru (sic) the air some distance from where I had heard his song. My impression was that he had left his song behind him, and that it had completed itself.
There was a dense white mist in the morning, breaking thru (sic) which, the sunlight was beautiful.
These mornings seem to belong to no particular season - neither summer winter spring nor autumn. They are wonderful creations. Neither are they the compound of the four seasons tho (sic) all are represented in our imagination. There is something else in them, which makes them different from all others. I have this feeling all thru (sic) the autumn, especially when I am in the city. Were I afield, no doubt the autumnal colors would give me the impression of the fall - we do not see them in the city.
Autumn is the great romance season. Every event in nature or in human affairs no matter how mean or small, is colored with romance until it becomes glorified. I wonder if when a man is in the Fall of his life if life has that aspect - I mean the ordinary man? To the poet life is that way thruout (sic).
Noon hot and sultry.
I feel no depression from it. I saw the morning and knew the evening was coming.
Sun sets in dense mists which is composed of a myriad colors, like an irridiscent (sic) moths wing, thru (sic) which it made a soft yellow glow. Later a vagrant air current blowing upwards from the sun, spun the mists into long whisps (sic), and catching some of the sun’s red, wove it into them.
Then there is the girl, bred in ignorance, who falls a pray to slavery, and thru (sic) her own & man’s lust lives a hell on earth here. Where is her retribution? The girl who has been warned and yet enters such a life makes her own hell & lives it. The other girl, the ignorant one does not make her own hell but lives it. Who shall pay? Or is humanity but one great unity and individuals but stepping stones towards an ultimate heaven? The hell of one person meaning the ultimate heaven of some descendent?
As man is to the earth, so is the earth to the universe, only millions of times intensified for the universe has no bounds, and our earth has. And yet men keep their noses in their Bibles, Korans, etc. and fondly imagine that we are the only people, that our earth is the only inhabited planet, that the whole universe exists for our benefit, when our earth is only one of many millions of others, someday perhaps to be like the moon, a satellite for some other planet which will support a new human life, who in turn will ogle at our dead planet and speculate as to what composes the shifting sands of which are (sic) bodies are a part.
The immortality of the soul exists in the deeds that live after the man has turned to dust.
Charles E Burchfield, August 27, 1914