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Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

reawaken

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

william merritt chase ~ october, 1893

William Merritt Chase, 1893

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painted leaves

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Inspired by Thoreau’s Autumnal Tints, his classic essay on the colors of fall, I collected a variety of leaves from my neighborhood and photographed them at their peak…how I adore their imperfections and curled up corners! At the outset, I was determined to capture the most colorful and unblemished leaves…but as my work progressed, I discovered they all had some sort of unique flaw…maybe it was a hole or an uneven edge…in any case, these flaws are what made them beautiful…may we all be inspired by life’s perfect imperfections!

“October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is the sunset sky; November the later twilight.” ~ an excerpt from Autumnal Tints by Henry David Thoreau

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photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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Yesterday, while en route to Concord, a large black bull caught my eye…he was just one of the many cows and bulls grazing (or reclining!) in the warm afternoon sun…what a picturesque sight to behold!

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“At evening, the distant lowing of some cow in the horizon beyond the woods sounded sweet and melodious, and at first I would mistake it for the voices of certain minstrels by whom I was sometimes serenaded, who might be straying over hill and dale; but soon I was not unpleasantly disappointed when it was prolonged into the cheap and natural music of the cow. I do not mean to be satirical, but to express my appreciation of those youths’ singing, when I state that I perceived clearly that it was akin to the music of the cow, and they were at length one articulation of Nature.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, excerpt from Walden, chapter four titled Sounds

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photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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For a few mornings now, I’ve been serenaded by the sweet sound of baby Robins…their masterful nest sits just outside my bedroom window, atop a sturdy old branch in the Magnolia tree…what a priceless gift to be given! This miraculous event has inspired me to re-read the one and only Walden by Henry David Thoreau…as I slowly savor his words, filled with infinite wisdom and unparalleled insights, I find myself sharing my new found discovery with him…a timeless companion if you will, elevating my experience with his ever-present eyes and ears…

It is with his voice in the forefront of my mind that I’d like to share with you one of my favorite excerpts from Walden…it’s quite possibly the most profound description of spring cleaning and outdoor living I’ve ever come across! Wishing you a wonderful spring weekend!

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“Housework was a pleasant pastime. When my floor was dirty, I rose early, and, setting all my furniture out of doors on the grass, bed and bedstead making but one budget, dashed water on the floor, and sprinkled white sand from the pond on it, and then with a broom scrubbed it clean and white; and by the time the villagers had broken their fast the morning sun had dried my house sufficiently to allow me to move in again, and my meditations were almost uninterrupted. It was pleasant to see my whole household effects out on the grass, making a little pile like a gypsy’s pack, and my three-legged table, from which I did not remove the books and pen and ink, standing amid the pines and hickories. They seemed glad to get out themselves, and as if unwilling to be brought in. I was sometimes tempted to stretch an awning over them and take my seat there. It was worth the while to see the sun shine on these things, and hear the free wind blow on them; so much more interesting most familiar objects look out of doors than in the house. A bird sits on the next bough, life-everlasting grows under the table, and the blackberry vines run round its legs; pine cones, chestnut burs, and strawberry leaves are strewn about. It looked as if this was the way these forms came to be transferred to our furniture, to tables, chairs and bedsteads, – because they once stood in their midst.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, excerpt from Walden

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Top ~ In the Woods by Paul Cezanne, 1900

Bottom ~ In the Woods by Paul Cezanne, 1898

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Henry David Thoreau

1855

April 15, 9 A.M. – To Atkin’s boat-house.

No sun till setting. Another still, moist, overcast day, without sun, but all day a crescent of light, as if breaking away in the north. The waters smooth and full of reflections. A still cloudy day like this is perhaps the best to be on the water. To the clouds, perhaps, we owe both the stillness and the reflections, for the light is in great measure reflected from the water. Robins sing now at 10 A.M. as in the morning, and the phoebe; and pigeon woodpecker’s cackle is heard, and many martins (with white-bellied swallows) are skimming and twittering above the water, perhaps catching the small fuzzy gnats with which the air is filled. The sounds of church bells, at various distances, in Concord and the neighboring towns, sounds very sweet to us on the water this still day. It is the song of the villages heard with the song of the birds.

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Three Trees in Spring ~ Claude Monet, 1891

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Spring ~ Pablo Picasso, 1956

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The Cascade in Spring ~ John Henry Twachtman, 1890-1899

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Pasture in Bloom ~ Vincent van Gogh, 1887

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The first flowers ~ Paul Gauguin, 1888

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“Cool” Series No. 80, Impatient Spring ~ Perle Fine, 1963

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Spring at Catou ~ Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1872-1873

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Melikhovo at spring ~ Isaac Levitan

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Dark and Deep ~ Wolf Kahn

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Trees by the Water ~ Paul Cezanne, 1900

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Lake, Spring ~ Isaac Levitan, 1898

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autumn’s wand

Wishing you a blissful autumn weekend! Take time to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the season!

“By the sixth of October the leaves generally begin to fall, in successive showers, after frost or rain; but the principal leaf-harvest, the acme of the Fall, is commonly about the sixteenth. Some morning at that date there is perhaps a harder frost than we have seen, and ice formed under the pump, and now, when the morning wind rises, the leaves come down in denser showers than ever. They suddenly form thick beds or carpets on the ground, in this gentle air, or even without wind, just the size and form of the tree above. Some trees, as small Hickories, appear to have dropped their leaves instantaneously, as a soldier grounds arms at a signal; and those of the Hickory, being bright yellow still, though withered, reflect a blaze of light from the ground where they lie. Down they have come on all sides, at the first earnest touch of autumn’s wand, making a sound like rain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, 1862

Returning from the Harvest ~ Paul Gauguin, 1884

Lane at Alchamps, Arles ~ Paul Gauguin, 1888

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the beauty of rain

Wishing you a cozy autumnal weekend!

“But the true lover of rain…has a deep inner enjoyment of the rain, as rain, and his sense of its beauty drinks it in as thirstily as does the drinking earth. It refreshes and cools his heart and brain; he longs to go forth into the fields, to feel its steady stream, to scent its fragrance; to stand under some heavy-foilaged chestnut-tree, and hear the rushing music on the crowded leaves.” ~ John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863

“And at last it comes. You hear a patter…you see a leaf here and there bob and blink about you; you feel a spot on your face, on your hand. And then the gracious rain comes, gathering its forces—steady, close, abundant. Lean out of window, and watch, and listen. How delicious!…the verandah beneath losing its scattered spots in a sheet of luminous wet; and, never pausing, the close, heavy, soft-rushing noise…” ~ John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863


“The crisp drenching rustle from the dry foliage of the perceptibly grateful trees…the little plants, in speechless ecstasy, receiving cupful after cupful into the outspread leaves, that silently empty their gracious load, time after time, into the still expecting roots, and open their hands still for more.” ~ John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863

photography by danielle boudrot for a thoughtful eye

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autumnal tints

Wishing you a happy weekend!

“How beautiful, when a whole tree is like one great scarlet fruit full of ripe juices, every leaf, from lowest limb to topmost spire, all aglow, especially if you look toward the sun! What more remarkable object can there be in the landscape? Visible for miles, too fair to be believed. If such a phenomenon occurred but once, it would be handed down by tradition to posterity, and get into the mythology at last.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Long Barn ~ Wolf Kahn, 2010-2011

Last Glow ~ Wolf Kahn, 2011

Green, Orange and Gray ~ Wolf Kahn, 1997

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Yesterday’s summer rain recalled a favorite chapter from E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat…his poetic telling of an afternoon thunderstorm at the lake is a timeless summer story ripe with imagery and childhood memories…hope this brightens your Monday afternoon!

“One afternoon while we were there at that lake a thunderstorm came up. It was like the revival of an old melodrama that I had seen long ago with childish awe. The second-act climax of the drama of the electrical disturbance over a lake in America had not changed in any important respect. This was the big scene, still the big scene. The whole thing was so familiar, the first feeling of oppression and heat and a general air around camp of not wanting to go very far away. In midafternoon (it was all the same) a curious darkening of the sky, and a lull in everything that had made life tick; and then the way the boats suddenly swung the other way at their moorings with the coming of a breeze out of the new quarter, and the premonitory rumble. Then the kettle drum, then the snare, then the bass drum and cymbals, then crackling light against the dark, and the gods grinning and licking their chops in the hills. Afterward the calm, the rain steadily rustling in the calm lake, the return of light and hope and spirits and the campers running out in joy and relief to go swimming in the rain, their bright cries perpetuating the deathless joke about how they were getting simply drenched, and the children screaming with delight at the new sensation of bathing in the rain, and the joke about getting drenched linking the generations in a strong indestructible chain. And the comedian who waded in carrying an umbrella.” ~ an excerpt from E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat, 1938

1) Landscape at Caux with increasing clouds ~ Ferdinand Hodler, 1917

2) Thun, Stockhornkette, In clouds ~ Ferdinand Hodler, 1912

3) Lake Thun ~ Ferdinand Hodler, 1884

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Gently Sloping, 2010, Pastel on paper ~ Wolf Kahn

“Again, I sit on the brow of the orchard, and look northwest down the river valley (at mid-afternoon). There flows, or rests, the calm blue winding river, lake-like, with its smooth silver-plated sides, and wherever weeds extend across it, there too the silver plate bridges it, like a spirit’s bridge across the Styx; but the rippled portions are blue as the sky. This river reposes in the midst of a broad brilliant yellow valley amid green fields and hills and woods, as if, like the Nanking or Yang-ho (or what-not), it flowed through an Oriental Chinese meadow where yellow is the imperial color. The immediate and raised edge of the river, with its willows and button-bushes and polygonums, is a light green, but the immediately adjacent low meadows, where the sedge prevails, is a brilliant cheerful yellow, intensely, incredibly bright, such color as you never see in pictures; yellow of various tints, in the lowest and sedgiest parts deepening to so much color as if gamboge had been rubbed into the meadow there; the most cheering color in all the landscape; shaded with little darker isles of green in the midst of this yellow sea of sedge. Yet it is the bright and cheerful yellow, as of spring, and with nothing in the least autumnal in it. How this contrasts with the adjacent fields of red-top, now fast falling before the scythe! When your attention has been drawn to them, nothing is more charming than the common colors of the earth’s surface.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, August 1st, 1860

Overall Yellow, 2011, Oil on canvas ~ Wolf Kahn

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