Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Song of the Telegraph, 1917-1952; watercolor on paper, 34 x 53 in. (86.4 x 134.6 cm); Collection of William and Rose-Marie Shanahan
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals November 20, 1915
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
I wonder what determines the direction I shall walk? Yesterday all my senses were in tune for a walk north westward along the railroad.
Today something drew me to the southeast. Yesterday in the fierce wind, the telegraph wires fairly shrieked, and sounded like when we rub our finger tips on tumblers. I amused myself making music by striking railroad ties (in piles here & there) with a stick. Each one had a different key & was akin to the music of the windblown wires overhead.
Today I got out at Faucett’s Thicket in time to meet a wild snow-storm. Wind roared in the tree tops. I exalted as I have not for a long time.
I am supposed to be home on account of illness. My cure is walking ‒
Most of these evenings I spend walking until after dusk & coming home in the gloom I am free to think.
One of the most poetic experiences I ever had was the finding of violets blooming in a cornfield.
As I came upon each one I felt a deep thrill as no music can give.
The last week was Indian Summer. I have lost something. It is not in me to dream or idle anymore and my greatest profits have always been reaped in dreaming & idleness. Think of having to learn to do either! Yet that is the task that comforts me.
I saw trees today it seems for the first time in my life. I will always have courage if I feel the same about all things. I like to meet a friend & feel that before I never really knew him & now had just discovered him.
Charles Burchfield, November 20, 1915