July 25, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

One recent day, I took a car ride with an intriguing woman (all are), and we had conversation. Never sure where those mutual talks lead, as I draw from a stream of consciousness, and the partner usually does the same. That means you are in the current, and it can be fast-moving; it can swirl into a placid pond and linger a bit; it can go over rocks, even waterfalls and lead to lakes, even an ocean. Much like relationships.

The lady and I were riding past part of the lower Hudson River Valley mountain range. I have had other such conversations in this region, and the description already given about how both water and relationships proceed or stumble or end or diverge fits. Somehow you never forget the journey.

My lady, though I am not sure she is truly mine, is actually a painting, an acrylic on wood panel, 24 x 24, and we were headed for the members’ show at an art center about five miles from Anthony’s Nose, the mountain that looks across the Hudson at its brother, Bear Mt.

The woman in the painting will no doubt be shy among stronger work from far better artists, but she’s to be the room, and her friend is happy about that. Good enough.

Who is the lady? Maybe my remembered conversation with her will tell me more in a discovery that leads somewhere, even to tributaries that do not extend very far.

The painting, and so the woman, began as a search for color. I deliberately chose her green coat, or perhaps blouse, and her red Irish lass’s hair. She is a stand-out lady, against a background of yellow ochre and similar color mixed and applied to show the stain of the wood, a medium preferable to me than canvas for this piece.

Her expression was painted last, for that is her soul. We only find that in exquisite moments, if we ever see the within at all. I drew her sharp nose, mouth and chin first, guided by the well of prior observation. I have seen such line before. When her eye was finished and the rouge of her face applied, she was there.

I like her. I may even love the lady, not as an art piece, for it may not be that at all, but for the feeling.

The writer is a retired newspaperman. This essay is adapted from an earlier piece.






July 19, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III


Every home has its entrance, perhaps a front porch or steps or inside foyer. So it is with places, usually introduced by paths, then roads.

In Rockland County, N.Y., close to Gotham but oh so many miles away ifrom urbanity there is a winding, quite old road from Pomona to Haverstraw, through New City.

It is the road of artists, writers, thespians. So much creativity has begun there over centuries, fiiting experience to the annual birth of apples and peaches at the 1700s Concklin Orchards in the Ramapo hamlet of Pomona, named after the Goddess of Fruit

South Mountain Road, Pomona to Haverstraw, the route of artists and fruit farmers, of thespians and writers, of High Tor ghosts, also has a magic tree in the Concklin orchard. It is the doorman to this enchanted land.

The writer is a retired newspaperman.



July 12, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III


     Stare at a door long enough, and it will open by itself. No, this isn’t telekinesis, merely but sometimes profoundly, a memory trip.

     We open and close, leave open and close doors throughout our existence, letting people, thoughts and life itself in or ushered out or kept out. We are at times hermits and social butterflies, frowns and smiles, sadness, exhilaration.

     Yet, if at all possible, and it must prove so if individuality is kept, we are the masters of the door. It hangs on hinges so that we can open or close, though others, sometimes uninvited, do the same.

     The locks on our doors are psychological keys to our personality, though obviously tempered by time and place. The multiple locks in urban setting speak to safety. The smart phone-connected cameras that accompany locks and doors today are about safety, yes, but also mistrust and worry in a vastly different age. Many, many doors of the past had long lost their keys, the welcome mat in place, even for the near stranger.

     The teen who stares at his of her childhood door, noticing the same paint chips, the remnants of posters and the lower smudges of the elementary school years is now in anticipation of going through that passage for the last time, off to college, off to life and other doors.

     Life drawing to a close sees the individual remembering in flashes of memory what happened as the door opened and closed, opened and closed.

     New to a house, to a room, memories begin for others as they glance, maybe stare at doors soon to be companions to life, to memories.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. 



Painting by gunther

July 4, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     TAPPAN, N.Y. – “When in the course of human events” begins the document crafted for July 4, 1776, a federal holiday now recognized as Independence Day. That the American Experiment has barely begun is as obvious as fireworks. As explosive too.

     This particular area of the nation that I write from gave birth to the Declaration of Independence in the Orangetown Resolutions posted two years before – to the day – on July 4, 1774. Those were the first organized stirrings protesting the extent of the British Crown’s claimed, over-reaching authority.

     Now, 245 years after 1776, on a day that is beach-going, includes parades, fireworks and, yes, the jingoism that is the politicians’ ever delight, the American Experiment which included the mission statement “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …” is yet to flower in a field open to all. All are not equal. Many are kept from being so.

     The poor are not free from economic shackles held tight by greed and uncaring; minorities are largely unable to climb the ladder of progress; so many children face a life of under-education, crime and prejudice; there is yet no fair system of immigration that recognizes the many nationalities which built – and build – the nation; Native Americans who were herded onto reservations in our claimed manifest destiny are owed reaffirming recognition; the middle class, so vibrant that post-war it grew exponentially and brought the stability of home ownership is shrinking; gender facts of life become prejudice labels; forgotten factory workers, small farmers and salt-of-the-earth folk are manipulated into fear by political agenda that would never give them their due nor a roof over their heads. 

     All this and more await address and redress in the American Experiment. Yet the country, this America, this USA, has the potential to work magic, as has happened, to provide opportunity, to pay it forward.

     Note July 4 for its still-unfulfilled possibilities. Continue the experiment.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman.