Historical Excerpt – Thomas Moses, “The Brook,” part 2

“The Brook” written by Thomas Gibbs Moses (1856-1934), August 1932 at the age of 76 yrs. old.

Here is the second installment:

“The impressionistic painter would be quite justified in attending chiefly to more obvious aspects of the brook scenery, not only because these are all that he can hope to represent, but also because the effects of running water almost infinitely vary as a close examination finds them to be, are composed of a few fundamental forms, the attending pool, slow water, the slide, the rapid, the eddy, the curve, and the full, which is alphabet of the brook in which all their endless literature is written. No two pools are exactly alike and no two eddies or waterfalls. Like my own life the brooks says the same thing over and over without ever representing itself, and I think I could listen to it forever. The brook is the oldest thing we know and the youngest as well. It has no age. It is time racing down forever through the channels of eternity. Waves of the sea and of rivers constantly shift from place to place because they are not controlled by solid bodies of earth or rock, but the ridge and hollows of the brook surface are stable without being rigid. I am always happy near running water, which I discover by always going to the bottom of every little valley where a brook is flowing.

The brook moves in rhythm, like music and poetry and dance, and it recalls these arts that we have devised to express the inexpressible. I know how gladly it would linger in the sunny pool, but I know also that it is drawn downward to the great sea by a deeper fascination. As the day wanes and the lengthening shadows and sunlight was striking upwards among the leaves and from the ripples of the brook I sat in a happy mood as water slipped swiftly by. Upon the current were sailing here a yellow leaf of alder and there a curled gray leaf of willow, and the waves that sustained these tiny skiffs were topaz, amber or maroon, according to how the rocks over which they ran varied in hue or as the sunlight struck them.”

And here are some detail images from a Moses’ painting:



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