En herbe: Van Gogh to His Sister

De la vue qu’encadrait la fenêtre de sa chambre, il retint le bleu lavande du ciel orageux et des collines et les tons rompus de bleu-vert du champ de blé en herbe. — (Steven Naifeh, Van Gogh, 2013)

From a letter of Van Gogh to his sister (Paris, 1887):

“Now comparing people with grains of wheat — in every person who’s healthy and natural there’s the power to germinate as in a grain of wheat. And so natural life is germinating.

What the power to germinate is in wheat, so love is in us. Now we, I think, stand there pulling a long face or at a loss for words when, being thwarted in our natural development, we see that germination frustrated and ourselves placed in circumstances as hopeless as they must be for the wheat between the millstones.

If this happens to us and we’re utterly bewildered by the loss of our natural life, there are some among us who, willing to submit themselves to the course of things as they are, nonetheless don’t abandon their self-awareness and want to know how things are with them and what’s actually happening. And searching with good intentions in the books of which it is said they are a light in the darkness, with the best will in the world we find precious little certain at all and not always satisfaction to comfort us personally. And the diseases from which we civilized people suffer the most are melancholia and pessimism.”