I looked on as an elderly man was painting an old farm house in oils, surrounded by trees dressed in their autumn finery. The house was shown as an aged and faded white surrounded by a low picket fence that had fallen into disrepair and long since been forgotten. The old dilapidated barn in the distance was expressed in varying shades of grey and peeling red paint. I was enraptured by the image I was seeing unfold before my eyes. It appeared to be such a simple piece, but it grew in complexity the longer I viewed it. Its underlying tones were of sadness and loneliness, time, and things forgotten. I balked at that, finding my initial assessment woefully inaccurate, this was not a lonely place, a forgotten place; this was a place that had seen life and heard stories! I knew the man had not yet finished with his painting and would not be so for some time. He was quite meticulous, as if he was paining the memories of his life. Every stroke of the brush had its designated place, its own meaning, and the way his hands grabbed absently at the different brushes seemed as if they had been pre-selected before he ever began. As his story was being narrated in layers of paint and hue, I found myself thinking about what life might have been like in that place he was creating. Who might have lived there? The colors in the painting boasted an autumn season, and though they were warm to the eye the season would have been cold, the growing…slow. No, it wouldn’t have been planting season, it seemed more likely that it would have been hunting season. I imagined game animals in the surrounding hills and a man in a flannel jacket walking silently through those amber colored woods, with rifle in hand and beagles in tow. The frost of his breath echoing the smoke that whispered from the chimney of the house. It would have been warm inside, and maybe children played by the hearth in the day’s early hours before they went reluctantly about their chores under the watchful gaze of a firm, yet loving mother. My thoughts darted to and fro about this painting in the most ridiculous of fashions, seeing people I would never meet, living events that never happened. But I was held to it long enough to allow my imagination to escape, and for a while, frolic freely with the idea of something beautifully simple. I left the elderly man to his work as I carried on about my day, thinking to myself all the while that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a painting is an unread novel.