Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Auvers: Part 2

Vincent, after seeing the room where you lived and died, I needed a break. I took a lovely walk around the whole town for a good three hours, stopping to eat a sandwich on the side of the road. You would also take long walks, and I went as far as necessary to see every wooden sign that marked where you had made a painting. Your town charmed me in every way. I have many photos, but I will share some of those next week, because today, we have bigger things to get to.

The path from the room where you died to your tomb is the same walk the few people present for your funeral made. Since Auvers-sur-oise sits on the side of a hill, it is an uphill walk. Only six people were present that day – Theo and friends who all loved you fiercely – and who were all devastated by their lonely task. It was a very hot day in July 1890, and in August 2009 I let the heat fill my body, and imagined the weight of your casket.

We climbed past the church you painted, past the church that would hold no funeral for you since you were a suicide. We went up past all the houses, and suddenly found ourselves on an incredible plateau —

I recognized the wide expanse from your last paintings here, of fields going on forever and ever…

I spotted the gate to your cemetery. I began to feel a bit dizzy. Both my desire and my fear of entering was overwhelming. Your bones are there. The headstones I had seen in photos a dozen times. Both you and Theo.

Reader, I cannot tell you precisely what transpired inside these gates. Once faced with his grave, I realized how alive he is for me… I was struck down with enormous grief. I had so many thanks to give him, and so many apologies on behalf of all who turned him away. I took no photos, but I will tell you that green, green vines thrive in a bed over his grave – planted there by Dr. Gachet. I was happy to know that nature continues to thrive in your presence, Vincent; you have become its sustenance, as it once was for you.

Eventually, I had to force myself to leave. Once I had knelt at your feet, the idea of leaving seemed quite absurd. I could not leave Auvers. Not yet.

There were a few benches in the shade by the church, and I sat there, finally letting my emotions run their course. I knew I did not sit alone. After a long time, I considered perhaps it was finally time to leave.

However, a distant sliver of twilight beckoned me back towards the front of the church, close to the road to the cemetery. Once I got closer (to take a better photo), I saw something I had noticed on the way to the cemetery, but ignored:

Bathed in sunlight, a tunnel of green darkness leading… to light. I immediately decided to take a video of the walk, so I could remember, so you could remember, so you – Reader – could feel and see…  The video is a bit lengthy, but I think it’s worth it.

I did not know there was another sign of your painting left in town. I did not know that these would be the wheat fields where you shot yourself. But of course, of course. And to think I almost left town without coming here.

You would have liked to die here, among the wheat you felt you sowed and reaped, surrounded by nothing but nature.

And new wheat grows, new wheat grows.

Thank you for bringing me here, Vincent.

Mon, October 26 2009 » Personal, Photo entries, Research, Travel

2 Responses

  1. Timmy Caldwell October 28 2009 @ 21:08

    I needed a couple of days and some time to let this latest entry seep into my crevices. Absolutely beautiful and stirring. I can’t thank you enough for taking us on this journey, and for soaking yourself in his colors and pain.

  2. Teresa November 7 2009 @ 20:52

    Tim, thank you for being such a sensitive reader. It’s the best kind.

One Ping

  1. Past so heavy, future with so much light | Vincent's Yellow April 26 2010 @ 11:55

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