Search for gold

Each month I have decided I will refresh the Miller’s Unity banner and background images of Miller’s work. They will always, reflect a detail, an aspect of beauty that is often my entry point into the canvas. This October month I’ve taken a detail from ‘Bathing Figures’.

Now though I hand over to a letter found in the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of NSW, 10/11/35, Godfrey Miller to his brother Lewis.

‘I walked from a station where Stock and I go, further on than the one where we all three went that Sunday, walked into the teeth of a forceful wind, that was cold enough to make that side of your face into cold meat, across a rising table top of unsheltered land then down into a declension where the tree belt and little rivulet run at right angles to my path for miles! I felt that the Sunday a week ago was a day when we had passed through the beauties of the autumn as though they existed not: so I dipped into the wood rather anxious to see as the approaching view of bareness raised my fears, to see if there still was any gold left. Sure enough. Some great belts of it rose in even parabolic curves up and down where the ground heaved and the trees were a scrap stronger. The slightly sloping of the valley let the wind go over top in a kind of soft roar that you could hear only if you listened and I walked along the zig zag down-going path with the rain maintaining the continual melody of a symphony as the faces/falls of the fallen leaves. A crimson carpet miles of a ___ stretch to walk upon: the noise of the rain, the staccato of the drops on my coat and farther off murmurs of the wind and its _____ murmur in the tips of the highest trees. In the open one loses the voice of the rain on the leaves but again picks up that of the wind. Then as one goes up again into the trees once more the relationship comes back again: the noises of the leaves and the softening of the wind-noise. Then I walked through a slender pine forest: and all was quiet. Too deep in the valley for the wind too soft with fallen pine needled floor for any response from the ground. It was quite quiet. Then I swing away from where Stock and I generally walk and turned across country to pick up another direction. Thus I came out of the avenue of trees, which you know: just by where we ate our lunch on the sunny day by the haystack. It is all mostly bare of  leaves and I do not know that you wld recognise the avenue. By the site of the haystack there were great splotches of autumn. Trees nearby and just round about, as gaily coloured as toys in your shop. I ate hurriedly my scrap of lunch on that now cold place. The wind wiped over the area and did not invite much by way of inaction. I ate and opened my Tagore at random and read one of the songs under shelter of my hat and coat from the beating rain. The trees down in front of where we sat now let you see through their bare limbs into the fields which lie slanting on the high lands behind – crossed into rectangles by low hedges. Great tree belts embracing the hills, blurred and soft like a black fur over a woman’s neck. I came home retracing the path we took going down to the little brook valley bed along the old fashioned road and crossing the rivulet again, which we crossed early in our day. The flatness of the valley was letting the wind sweep up – with an even pressure against you as you stood on the little bridge. Into the woods again where we stopped and listened to birds. Now as it is today is as the strange silence with just the muffled overhead wind blending with the pelter of rain on the mass of fallen leaves. The noises are  strange changed in their relationship: through the walk – outside as one turns over the top of the hill the wind itself sounds uppermost and as you sink low into forest the winds noise is superseded. Then in a sheltered valley there is just the hush of the rain on the grass with the other noises subservient. One gains then loses the other comes to be uppermost and the third subdued till the third rises again and mingles and blends very much as musicians modify melodies in music-structure. I scouted a little bit of new land but there was nothing I cld come upon to exceed what I had seen. In fact the only better than what you saw is that which I included in my early movements. It is a glorious experience. It is one of the compensations of living in the London struggle that I can get out into such woods. The gaiety of the colouring, the heave of the earth, The music of the elements. There is majesty in the quiet coloured and dripping woods. Too the economy of Autumn an attractive play of forms for it outlines merely the masses, where summer filled them in and up and down proceeds these outlines and sweeping along the land contour. Play field of infinite forms.  Forms coloured red, coloured yellow, coloured green. Blue hills, black stems crimson earth. Along down the fields by the fence, towards the station, soft and green lands with the black barns of the farm which you know – a wind wiping the country hitting the rain onto my throat when I lift my face to the wind.  And so back to the station platform where I had heard of the description of the “beastly” day, wishing I had someone to say to, how nice the day had been.’

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