American artist Andrew Wyeth died last week at the age of 91. His paintings of rural American landscapes and farm life are described by most obsrvers as having a nostalgic tone, but the few of his works I have seen strike me as timeless in a sense, because these same landscapes are the ones I have been seeing in real life after having moved to Wisconsin last year. There’s a serenity and simplicity to such scenes that provokes a kind of introspection. Here’s one that struck me in particular:
Tomorrow is the day we leave this town. In the past year here I have grown to really appreciate the pace of life here. My daughter roamed freely about the common backyard area and knew all our neighbors by name; I could leave my house unlocked and my garage open without fear, and everything was 5 minutes away from everything else. Plus, there’s a raw beauty to central Wisconsin that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else, a simple yet dignified beauty that was solidly rooted in the land and the soil. I will definitely miss this place, and I somehow doubt that i will ever be back.
Tomorrow, we move to the Madison area. The excitement of returning to Madison is of course a separate channel entirely from my sentiment at leaving Marshfield behind. In a week’s time, our normal will be renormalized. I intend to embrace madison again and make sure that both my daughters get as much benefit as possible from our (lengthier) sojurn there.