It struck me in your letter that you said that seeing things again in Nuenen you ‘were grateful that it had once been yours’ — and were now content to leave everything to the others.
Through a glass, darkly1 — it has remained thus; life and the why of parting and passing away and the persistence of turmoil, one understands no more of it than that.
For me life might well remain solitary. I haven’t perceived those to whom I’ve been most attached other than through a glass, darkly.
And yet there’s a reason why there’s sometimes more harmony in my work nowadays. Painting is something in itself. Last year I read somewhere that writing a book or making a painting was the same as having a child. I don’t dare claim that for myself, though; I’ve always thought the latter was the most natural and best thing — only if it were so and if it were the same.
That’s why I sometimes do my utmost best, even though it’s precisely that work that’s the least understood, and it’s the only tie that links the past and the present for me.
There are a lot of painters here in the village; next door a whole family of Americans who paint day in and day out,2 but I haven’t seen any of their work yet, and it’s usually just all too weak.
Theo, his wife and his child were here on Sunday and we lunched at Dr Gachet’s. Then my little namesake had pretty much his first encounter with the animal kingdom, since there are 8 cats, 3 dogs, as well as hens, rabbits, ducks, pigeons &c. in great numbers around the place.3 But I don’t think he understands very much of it for the present. But he looked well, and Theo and Jo too. It was a very reassuring feeling for me to be more in their vicinity again. You’ll probably be seeing them again soon too.4
Thanks once again for your letter, and I hope you and Wil keep well.
Embraced in thought.