Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Fantastic Moon, 1917; watercolor on paper, 16 x 23 ¾ inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles Burchfield, Journals, November 26, 1910
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Off we started for Bentley’s Woods, which is the nearest one to our homes. On the way we picked dry milkweed stalks and used them as spears, bombarding each other like a couple of savages. We soon found ourselves in the woods. What a scene of desolation here! Birds gone, everything green now brown, and a stillness that said summer is gone!
“Summer ist hin,” I chanted
“Ihr sonnigen Weiden, lebt wohl.”
Patches of the old German folksong that we had studied last year in Wilhelm Tell came to my mind as a looked around thru the solitude. But the very sadness of it is a pleasing sensation to me!
“The Melancholy days are come
"The saddest of the year—"
The saddest perhaps but the happiest. Who does not like to be melancholy once in a while, especially when nature is the cause? I like to tramp through the dry leaves and twigs and hear the mournful wind sob thru the sleeping branches. And what can be equal to the Autumnal Sunsets, unless perhaps the winter sun-rises just before Spring! Just as we were turning around to come home after aimlessly wandering here and there, the sun shone forth for his last time, thru the dull grey cloud banks, which took on a misty rosy tinge. A cool wind, that seemed to come thru the open spaces in the clouds, roared thru the bowing trees and fanned back our hair from our flushed faces. The sun disappeared, and bright yellow rays glanced off the breaking clouds.
Slowly we wended our way homeward, laughing, talking and trying to outdo each other in throwing our “spears” at targets and the furthest distance.
Charles Burchfield, November 26, 1910