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Two days to Buffalo by bus - (I think it was Tuesday & Wednesday)

I awoke early enough to see the sun-rise.  It startled me half out of bed.  Up away from the horizon was a long cloud bar, flaming salmon in color, against a blue green sky.  Did I awake just for that?

A beautiful sunny windy day, the air mild and soft. I decided to go out painting...As the day wore on the wind got colder and more gusty – just as I was about to start painting a sudden gust threw the easel forward spilling the water all over my trousers, drenching me to the skin.... Nevertheless, I continued to paint most of the after-noon – my subject, the swirling stream, sunlight & wind. –

When I think of the multitude of things there are to paint – the whole untouched field of nature moods and weather, and the whole gamut of human life and endeavor which can be expressed in houses and building – when I think of these, and how little I have actually accomplished, I am aghast at my inactivity – a cessation of painting that has lasted from October. There is so little time – human life is so brief, it seems “flying in the face of fate” to be idle.

Up late. We had intended going to church somewhere but Frank called us at 11:00 & asked us to come over to his apartment & later have “Brunch” at the Town & Country on Park Ave. 

It was warmer this morning – The sky became a heavy oppressive grey, buildings took on a dark velvety blue shade; tree bases were black, & people’s faces as they walk along well lit up by the glow of the snow below.

Dusk – Snow Gloom; houses look startled at snow, tree bases deep black & vibrate; running children jet black –

Freedom – the joy of closing one’s eyes and seeing visions of raw hillsides, beyond a mean street and feeling the impulse to paint this boldly, exuberantly with the mind of a creator, caring not about the result – this is freedom. 

From Steubenville I walked northwards along the railroad track. The heavy winter mist, that all morning had obscured West Virginia, and gave the river the appearance of a vast lake, had now disappeared for the most part.

Burchfield transcriptions: 

But after all, man is the great poet, and not Homer or Shakespeare; and our language itself & the common arts of life are his work - / Thoreau

The poet will write for his peers alone. He will remember only that he saw truth and beauty from his position, and expect the time when a vision as broad shall overlook the same field as freely. / Thoreau

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