Every time I look at this image, it grows on me. There's something about the way the girl is standing in the forest, so alone and small beneath the ancient trees. I wonder, why has she gone into these woods? What is she considering, as she stands there on the forest floor, a world of fallen leaves beneath her feet? She's holding on to something. It appears to be a solitary brush and a palette. Has she gone into the forest to paint? Is she somehow lost? Is the world confusing, or has she found solace there?
The light coming through the trees, a gray-blue sky in the distance, a path winding its way between ... What was van Gogh trying to tell us? What did he see, what did he feel, when he painted her there, standing in the forest? Again and again I return to the brushstrokes of green on the tree behind her. I think of him, in that moment when he moved his brush across his palette, then, reaching out, left those four small strokes of color. It's been almost a hundred and thirty years, and they still make all the difference.
I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood, past manhood and all the living and dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.
~ Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums
Vincent van Gogh, "Girl in the Woods," 1882.