beneath the snow

“Village in the Snow” by Paul Gauguin
“Village in the Snow” by Paul Gauguin

I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future – the timelessness of the rocks and the hills – all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show. I think anything like that – which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone – people always feel is sad. Is it because we’ve lost the art of being alone?
~ Andrew Wyeth
(LIFE, May 14, 1965)

16 thoughts on “beneath the snow”

  1. Is being alone an art? I have never thought of it that way, but I suppose for some people it is. It is a lovely snowy village, with promises of the new growth beneath the snow, waiting to show itself in the spring. How beautiful! 🙂

    1. One way being alone could be thought of as an art is that some of us need to be very creative in our efforts to find time and a place for solitude. Some of us have more “talent” for this than others! Snow feels like a blanket to me, keeping seeds and hibernating creatures warm – it is so natural and beautiful!

  2. This is one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite artists. I lived a few minutes away from Mr. Wyeth’s home when I first started blogging, and I understand his fascination with winter, especially after living in that area during the winter months. Love the pairing, Barbara. 🙂

    I saw Joanne’s question, and I think being alone is an art. I spend most of my days alone. At first I felt lonely (an interestingly enough, it’s when we lived in Wyeth country), and then I learned to love the silence and the opportunities presented to move inward as well as outward.

    1. My late father-in-law was a big fan of Andrew Wyeth – I always enjoyed the prints of his paintings he hung on the walls of his dining room. I’m glad you enjoyed this painting, Robin – I’m pretty sure this was the first time I came across this one in particular.

      I feel the same way you do about the quiet joys of solitude. There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. If one doesn’t know the difference she can easily mistake contemplation, silence and solitude by choice for loneliness. Perhaps some day I will find my way to Wyeth country! 🙂

    1. Mmmm… that’s the wonderful thing about winter, after a walk in the newly fallen snow to add seeds to the bird feeders, one can curl up in a comfy chair inside, with a good book and a cup of cocoa, and enjoy watching the pretty birds (and a few squirrels and chipmunks!) feeding outside the windows…

  3. I like January because it seems so peaceful after the hustle and bustle of December. And, the cold weather gives me permission to be reflective and to cocoon a little.

    1. Me, too, Sheryl! And I always marvel at how the very sunny days are usually the coldest, when one can get so hot sitting by a window but then feel the bite of cold air when stepping outside…

  4. “…the bone structure in the landscape…” I love when I hear something described in a way I’d never heard or thought of before, yet it immediately feels perfect. That description does. Thank you, Barbara.

    1. I’m happy you found some words in the quote that resonated with you, Charles. My husband loves winter because he can see deep into the woods with no foliage to block his field of vision. Bare trees do have a sort of architectural quality or “bone structure” about them.

  5. I’ve never seen this Gauguin painting. I can barely believe this is the same man who painted those Tahiti nudes.

    I was also going to mention the difference between being alone and being lonely.

    I can admire these winter scenes and I also love the peace and silence that surrounds the world during a snow storm but winter is my least favorite season because I can never get warm. When I lived in a cold northern city my hands and feet were always cold.

    1. This is the confusion that happens when I schedule posts too far in advance and forget that I paired the words of one artist, Andrew Wyeth, with a painting of another, Paul Gauguin. I do wish I could post some Wyeth paintings, but they are not available in the public domain yet.

      Rosie, we seem to have opposite tastes in climate – I dislike not being able to cool off in the summer, but love snuggling into many layers of clothing and blankets in the winter to warm up.

      1. I don’t mind snuggling under the blankets in the winter but when I’m outside I have a hard time getting warm – my hands and feet are always lumps of ice… whether I’m walking or cross country skiing my feet never warm up. I think the bad circulation may be part of the fibromyalgia.

        1. It’s true that as people age they lose the ability to regulate body temperature, and I imagine fibromyalgia and other diseases can interfere with blood circulation, too. My dad never liked the heat but now that he’s 90 he’s always complaining that he’s cold, in spite of piles of wool and electric blankets. We even put a space heater next to him at times… It’s too bad you can’t enjoy winter sports as much as you’d like to… sending a *warm hug* to you, Rosie (It’s 19°F here this afternoon – brrr)

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