August 3rd, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window


My neighbors up the street have visitors in one of those BIG motor homes. (A caravan, for my British readers.) This thing is the size of a Greyhound bus. In fact, it's almost as big as the house I lived in until I was six years old. (I exaggerate but little. This machine is probably more than 250 square feet, and the house in question was less than twice that.) Also, it probably has better plumbing than the house had. It probably has hot water and a shower. The house didn't, though its indoor toilet and cold-water sink would have made it quite modern in the back woods. It was in the suburbs of Los Angeles, though, and thus decidedly not up to code.

Last night, I watched the light of a television flickering through the broad windshield of this residential vehicle, and marveled at the wondrous extravagance of it all. What high-tech hermit crabs some humans have become!

Then I went off to Webshots and gathered this album of paintings by Camille Pissarro from the year 1875. Now, in the grey dawn, I see the glossy motor home still parked up the street, and I wonder what Pissarro would have made of it. Could he even have figured out how to paint such a strange thing? A century an a quarter have wrought such changes as I'm sure would have boggled the minds of the peasants he painted working in the sunlit fields and wandering the shady woods around Pontoise and Montfoucault. Pissarro was one of the first truly modern painters, and yet his world seems as far away as the age of the medieval churches that loom over many of the scenes he painted. It is a world that will never be seen through the windows of a motor home. Only art, or imagination, can be that wide.
caillebotte_man at his window

Nice Day

The pleasant breeze which greeted me on awakening today has blown away my summer lethargy. In fact, I've had so much energy that I've been doing all sorts of things other than dealing with the computer, leaving me no time to write. I'm going to go do more of them now. Later.