Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Design for a Tile, Mushrooms and Fungus (also known as Mushrooms and Indian Pipe), February 28, 1913; watercolor and pencil on paper, 7 x 4 15/16 inches; Charles E. Burchfield Foundation Archives, Gift of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation, 2006
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Vol. 20, September 7, 1914
Saturday, September 7, 2019
5:00 A.M. Along ridge above Egypt road with F [probably his brother, Fred]—in search of mushrooms.
A rose-glow in east at start.
In early morning I always think of Brow[n]ing perhaps because of his vivid dawn-pictures. [English poet Robert Browning (1812-1889)] In Post’s hear “Weerie-bird”
The sun is long in appearing.
As we come to brink of ridge the sun roars forth from the tip of the treesy (sic) Dutchman’s hill, echoing & re-echoing thru the columns of mist, jarring from the glistening trees a shower of dew that shattering in a blady (sic) cat-tail swamp, broke into a host of blackbird chirpings.
Our walk extended along this ridge & I watched the Dutchman’s more than I looked for mushrooms.
From the Bottoms came song of rose-breasted grosbeak.
In early morning, I can detect no sense of Autumn. The heavy rains have rejuvenated everything. This may have been an early summer’s morning. It is not until later & the sun is higher & wind commences to blow that it seems like September.
Jewell-weed choked hollow.
Mushrooms & lichens are the spring flowers of this second spring.
The spontaneity of mushrooms is one of their greatest charms.
Close cropped pastures are great lichens of the earth.
Amer. mockingbird sends hollow-rapping call thru the sun-whacked trees.
This dew-drenched spurry (sic) valley is a wonderful thing on misty mornings. Shrub willows star-studded, which snapped by the newborn breeze flung upward pieces of silver that struck by the sun were given voice & dissolved into killdeers.
See pair of hawks sailing near Reese’s mine.
Dewy yellow butterfly.
To a crippled butterfly in coming forth, from its case of silken iron, the wings refuse to unfold.
Heard of mushrooms coming up thru cement walks, Poets [usually] must do the same. When one in Chicago came up, people came by hundreds to see it. So also do they come to a poet, who has pushed upward thru the hard cement of everyday existence
Noon-wards — loose clouds strong wind.
P.M. To Post’s & Meadows to sketch. Cold windy afternoon. Windy day clouds scudding past.
Crows numerous. Powerful swinging black flops against blue.
Hawk sailing high up almost at zenith. The sky behind a deep blue. Grandeur of his flight. Sails straight to west out of sight. To be a hawk!
As I sit on mound, up fly three flickers & some bluebirds.
Two red spots in swampy Bottoms — sparks which the wind will fan into Thoreau’s conflagration.
Trees all shades of green & rusty green.
As I was sketching a hawk sailed close above. Its nearness made me feel as tho I had [been] touched with the invisible.
A whitish cloud rolling in bounding fashion along the top of the hill. Writhing shadows falling in a rippling cat-tail Marsh, with reeks with blackbird.
As sitting here — two small flocks of blackbirds drop over the cringing hill in chaff-blown flight, & skimming over the blady (sic) swamp join their fellows. Another small flock follows. Sounds like a whip lashing the air.
Make brief visit to Swamp. A rich place. Red alders full of berries. Other shrubs are berry hung. This may mean that robins will stay the winter out.
Nightwards — cool & streaky sky.
—Charles E. Burchfield, September 7, 1914