Gone were his need for the muddy tones and sombre scenes that he had been painting until recently. His depression had lifted and the world was full of colour and vitality once more. His thoughts of suicide were history like the mist that had evaporated in the morning sun. He had no more need of doctors and the quiet and seclusion they prescribed. From now on he was going to enjoy life and his art.
He smiled at his three companions in the balloon, who were grimly hanging on to the wicker of the basket as if every moment was going to be their last. They had brought him on this adventure to cheer him up and they had succeeded and now he was the happiest man here. The only other person who seemed at all happy to be here was the circus showman, who was their pilot.
He pulled his sketch book from one of his pockets and found a pencil in another and began to record the majestic curving lines of the lavender as it passed beneath them. Then in his minds eye he visualised how they must appear from the ground. The balloon bright and patterned against the blue sky and the lovely purple shades of the fields below. His fingers flew over the page capturing the thought. That would be his first new picture of the rest of his life and he knew it would sell.
All too soon the flight was over. Henri, who could only just see over the edge of the basket turned to the smiling artist and announced, “Back to earth again.” He replied, still smiling, “No Henri, I'm going to be floating in the clouds for rest of my life and it's going to be a long life too. I'm not going back to the hospital at Saint-Remy, I want to go home to Arles and start some real painting.”
He knew just which canvas he could over-paint to make a break with his past life. That dark night time painting with the swirly clouds and exaggerated stars, it stood for everything that had come to depress him. Nobody would miss that daub, but he would know that it marked his passage from the dark to the light.
Theo turned to look at his brother, he had not seen him smile for such a long time, and then to Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gaugin, the other two artists in the balloon. This was a turning point. Vincent van Gogh was going to recover and become a truly great artist.