Vincent's Yellow

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

Leaving Saint Paul

Before we depart the stone walls of the hospital of Saint Paul de Mausole for good, I wanted to leave you with some sounds, and some textures, Reader. Let them drift like ghosts into your ear drums and pupils, and dance along your finger tips, almost real, almost memory….

Walking among his olive trees.

The curtains on his bedroom window.

The reaper’s wheat field…

Now, if you’ll remember from the first entry about Saint Rémy, there were many signs in the area indicating where Vincent had walked and painted. One very special sign, however, promised the below painting was executed about an hour’s walk east of the asylum.

Wheatfield with Cypress, 1889

This particular painting is, without a doubt, one of my favorites, and since it sits neatly in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where I lived for six years, I’ve seen it many times. I know its strokes, I know its brilliance and its spirit by heart.

However, my mother and I saw there was little time to walk there, so we drove twenty minutes at the end of the day, and then I walked onward for another fifteen or twenty. We were racing against the sun, but it slowly became clear to me as I walked that I was meant to be there at twilight.

I had no doubt that, sometime during the year you lived at Saint Paul, you walked this path. The olive trees and the cypresses, your constant muses and companions, smiled at me through the golden sunshine.

The path itself glowed, and I began to wonder how much emotion I could really take in one day…

My feet crunched into the gravel, the only prevailing sound besides what I thought must be cicadas… I passed probably one of the smallest stone shelters I’ve ever seen. A little cabin, perhaps? A resting spot? A studio? Either way, I yearned to enter it, to own it, to dream inside of it.

An enormous tree spread its incredible canopy over a small, wooden seat. I wished I could stay longer to write, to work across time and alongside you.

But time said we must return to Arles. It marked the beginning of the end of my trip. It was the last frontier, the last edge of the unknown. What I would give for another day there, simply to walk…

I took a deep breath, and turned around.

My mother and I got back into the car, headed back into the West, into the South, into Arles.

Your light stayed with us, even if only by bouncing off the sky, until we arrived safely at our hotel.

Mon, December 28 2009 » Personal, Photo entries, Travel, Video Entries

One Response

  1. Timmy Caldwell December 28 2009 @ 19:21

    There are many things I could point to here, but I wanted to mention very randomly how much I cherish the crunch-crunch of your footsteps in the videos.

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