A day in the life


“EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

November 12, ‘13

Sometimes, when I’m working on these abandoned/resurrected paintings, I think of Emily from Our Town.  I often feel as if I’ve been given an opportunity to go back in time and relive moments that at the time seemed perfect.  Whatever ‘perfect’ is….

This morning, I’ve gone back in time and spent it working in West Cemetery.  I’ve spent countless hours in this cemetery, in ‘real’ time and in my art.

This is the place where I’d like my ashes to be scattered, when the time is real for that.

It was so peaceful there that day I felt as if I could actually hear the clouds passing over.  Not a sound but my thoughts, the scratching of brush on canvas, spring birds and an occasional passing car on the road outside the gate.  As the sun went higher, I could feel the air softening with warmth and see the grass turn greener.  I felt as if I could smell the scent of newly greening grass.

It was peaceful there, today, as well.

Back then, I knew that when the sun was high and the air was warm, I had lunch waiting for me at home not 3 minutes up the street.  As I was packing up my painting supplies to go home for lunch, a bluebird flew over the scene, leaving me the memory of a streak of heavenly blue-bird blue across the scene.


At the moment, in the Now, I’m experiencing a dull and rainy November day.  For a half hour or so earlier this morning, there was a light scattering of snow on roofs, cars and lawns.  When the snow hit the road, it instantly turned to shiny wet.  It’s 36 degrees but doesn’t feel particularly cold.  I’m sitting near my oil radiator, which is turned up to Medium.  Albert is sleeping in his basket on the floor behind the radiator.  His basket is under a bench and on top of the bench, my parakeet in her cage.  We’re all close to the radiator, keeping warm.  The washing machine is running in the basement under my feet; I can hear it, it’s on final spin.

Soon, I’ll go to the basement and put the wet wash into the dryer.  When the clothes are dry, I’ll get dressed and go to lunch with an old friend.

A day in the life….

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5 Responses to A day in the life

  1. beetleypete says:

    Not too bad a day in a life Gretchen. At least you were able to reflect, and remember warmer days, in the company of your pets.
    I like your paintings of the cemetery. They show the peace that you find there.
    Regards from England as always, Pete.

  2. chris ludke says:

    I’m glad to see an artist not afraid to paint in a cemetery. The subject is a little dark for most people. But when I tried to draw in our cemetery it made me aware every day that I’m still alive. Isn’t it funny that people talk about “feeling alive” when they’re in love or something’s going right in their life, but I felt alive when I was standing over dead people ?
    Beautiful work , by the way. And I love that path you’re on.

  3. Kathy says:

    I enjoyed reading your “day in the life”, Gretchen. You painted such a vivid picture with words that one felt quiet in the cemetery painting with you. And I can almost hear your washing machine spinning, too. You paint beautifully in words and pictures.

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