THE CLOTHESLINE

‘WASH IN THE FIELD’/acrylic/gunther

August 19, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     Imagine all the conversations at the clothesline that women have had in urban/suburban/rural areas; count the dreams/thoughts of so many women hanging wash by themselves. Now you have more talk, more dreams/thought than clothes left to dry.

    There is work in hanging wash, relieved for some today by clothes dryers, but there is escape, too, away from the indoor household routine, even in this routine.

     Words shared over urban clotheslines tethered to a common pole, women pulling the day’s wash on squeaky pulleys from tenement windows; the solitary thought of a woman, or man, or child gathering a wind and cold-stiffened shirt from a line, clothespins reset one after another, all this: reaffirming existence itself.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger.   

 

IN A LIFE

 

‘WHITE ON RED VASE’/acrylic/gunther

August 12, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     What is it about white hair?  Mark of maturity, gathered wisdom? Life having lived in depth now aging toward its natural finish? Distinction? 

     Grandma? Encouragement for the young that they, too, can achieve?

     Sacrifice? Selflessness? The lady who bakes great cookies? The man who can fix anything?

     Yes, a topping well-earned, it is hoped. Yet, below the mane can remain the brilliant color of youthful vigor, exuberance, enthusiasm. Life is not over until the finish.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger.

     

In the corner

‘IN THE CORNER’/acrylic/gunther

 

August 5, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

No one should be pushed into a corner — by anyone or even yourself — because that is not the place to make the best decisions. Instead, corners should be of welcome and mystery, of imagination and whimsey, of curiosity and adventure. And not only for children playing games.

     Maybe that is why corners should have cabinets. Open the door and. ….

The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com

AT THE WINDOW

‘TWO WOMEN’/ACRYLIC/GUNTHER

 

July 29, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     These two women are in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home. One is white, prosperous. One is black, African-American, a slave. Presumably, they speak to one another.

   They are at the dawn of a new age, this political, social, economic, human experiment called the American republic, in which “all men are created equal.”

     But not blacks, still slaves. Not women. Not Indians, Native Americans, increasingly dispossessed of their ancient lands in the continuing march of “progress” and manifest destiny. Not the coming waves of immigrants, from whom most of us descend. Not the elderly. Not the addicted.

     The women at the window in 1800 see beyond the Virginia landscape toward a frontier hardly begun. If they were seers, they would also see violence, bloodshed, prejudice, crooked politicians in special interest, human abuse even as the ever-proud, ever-changing flag of a new, emerging nation goes forth, held high, but just for some.

     They know, these two women then of unequal standing, but each unequal to men, that there is already proclaimed justification for the ceaseless frontier and its mistakes as well as its achievements, in the very language of the revolutionary men who by the skin of their teeth won independence. “Toward a more perfect union,” the Preamble to the Constitution reads. There is no second line: “Yet progress must not be so rapid that people are bulldozed aside.”

     The women who stand at this Jefferson window, in the home of the brilliant man who employed his mastery at writing to set the nation’s mission statement but who was also a slaveholder and flawed as leaders are, these women of the nurturing sex in 1800 are in place today, challenging an incomplete march to achieve equality, not only for females but for men, for all races, for the poor, for the forgotten middle class, for immigrants, for the sick and the infirm, for those shoved aside one way or another.

      They will not long remain at the window of 2019 and beyond. They will go forth and become the masters of the American republic’s true manifest destiny. Their time has come.     

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger.

SARAH

‘SARAH’/acrylic/gunther

July 22, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     This is Sarah, but it could be you. She could anyone — of any sex, age, ethnicity, race, belief. Sarah is alone, but not alone. She is with her thoughts, her “me time,” in her space beyond a door.

     There is no competition for her moment alone, no distractions, no need for a lock on the door. No paintings on the wall to detour her imagination. Sarah simply can be with herself — in neutral while the rest of her world is in gear.

     She comes to her room often, even when she is away, for it also exists in her mind, a necessary refuge, when necessary.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman, ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger. 

HOUSE MUSIC

‘Detail at South Truro’/gunther

 

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

           There is music in this old house, though there is no electricity — disconnected decades ago. There is no radio, no record player, no iTunes. In fact, there are no people.

But once, even before electricity, there was much music. Fiddles, banjos, carved wooden sticks offering the cadence of Irish/Scot heritage but in a new land. So, added notes.

And there was the music of children, the best sounds in any home. And the whistling of the father as he whittled, a respite from the long day’s hard work. The women had their tunes, taught by mothers whose mothers taught them — music with a survival rhythm, deep graciousness, and reference to the glory of the Kingdom and what follows lifelong nurturing, endurance.

The house is empty now for it is no longer a home. Yet the music that helped make it so echoes and echoes and echoes.. 

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook messenger.

WINDOWS

Gunther painting/acrylic on canvas

July 9, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     Open a window, and you might get fresh air. Or fresh perspective. Depends on what’s out there, what you see, what you want to see.

     The window frames a scene, and you are in control because you can shut the glass. Or you can open it more and almost jump into the scene.

     You can look out, daydream of people, things, events past, how there has been change, think about what is ahead.

     Some days you are brave enough, adventurous enough, inquisitive enough to open the window. Other times, even the curtain is not parted.

    Yet to have the choice, to have a window that you can open, might be the best way to start the day. You can paint your own picture.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman, ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger

 

OF VESTIBULES …

July 1, 2019

STAIR LANDING/Edward Hopper House, Nyack, N.Y./gunther

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     The vestibule, the foyer, the landing of any house is initially what makes it a home. Visitors — family, friends, strangers — enter there, introduced/reintroduced to what else is in the house that makes it a home.

     Goodbyes, some to last forever like lost love,  are said there, in words, perhaps. Perhaps not.

     Memories are made in the vestibule, the foyer, the landing, many to exist and exist as if never leaving the space.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com, Facebook Messenger.

THE SPECIAL KEY

‘HOUSE IN DONEGAL’/gunther

June 24, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     There is your ancestry, whether you visit it, know it, appreciate it or not. It is in your DNA, in your features, perhaps in mannerisms, speech, beliefs. Ancestry may affect the genes in the way you are gifted with this ability or that.

     You may never meet your ancestry by visiting a country, seeing, tasting its flavor. You may not have the means, or the interest or the ability to travel. 

     Yet be assured that who you are has a foot in the past somewhere. You may not know the language of your ancestors nor their ways, but in the same journey in which all modern humans probably are descended from the Africa of 2,000 generations ago, we each have reference points on the long trip.   

     Somewhere else, separate from your life as you know it, is an ancestor’s village — a house there — and you have a key to its door. Your own key. 

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com

THE EDWARD HOPPER HOUSE DOOR

 

‘TOP OF STAIRS’/gunther

June 17, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     NYACK, N.Y. — Once there was a door at the top of the steep steps in the 1858 birthplace home of Edward Hopper, the foremost American realist painter. It was not there in his childhood, 1887 birth-on, nor did the family need such closure. 

     The door, rescued from several originals kept in the basement, was attached in the early 1970s rescue of the then deteriorating, once handsome, modest home of a Baptist minister, Edward’s grandfather (John Smith), then his father Garret, a shopkeeper, then the artist himself. Edward passed in 1967, his sister Marion in 1965, and Josephine Nivison, the painter’s wife, also an artist, in 1968.

     A door at the top of the stairs was needed in the house renovation so that income-producing space for studio renters and a handyman could be had, assuring that the almost total volunteer effort to save a historic home, that of a famous artist as well, could continue.

     In time, the Edward Hopper House was able to open up to the public the upstairs room where Marion, Edward and their mother Elizabeth were born, and so, the door was removed. Visitors to the bedroom are taken by the brilliant Hudson River light that shoots up Second Avenue straight onto the walls. Surely this painter of light was touched from infancy.

     Doors give us privacy, guard the quiet. Sometimes — valuable times — they must be closed. In other moments, they should be wide open or exist not at all. 

     At the Hopper House, now 82 North Broadway, the opened door at the top of the steep stairs gives visitors deeper insight into an artist who never tells the story in his paintings but who opens a door to our own tale(s).

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com