Our first stop was in Giverny, where Monet lived, and died. I’ve always been taken with the front yard of his house. It’s all flowers. I asked the One and Only Squeeze if I could fill the front yard of our house with flowers and get rid of the lawn mower. She hit me on the arm.
His place in Giverny also has the lily-pad pond. Monet painted a boatload of water lily scenes, and he did a lot of views of the Rouen Cathedral. He was, it seems, fascinated with the effects of light at different times of day, at different seasons, in different conditions. On blue and green pond, he painted different perspectives of the pond, with different tree and foliage features reflected in different surface conditions. Smooth surface on a windless day, rippled by a breeze. I recalled Rodin’s “Man with the Broken Nose.” Looking at the bust, I was taken by how much I thought I knew about him. Rodin’s sculpture told me a story. At Monet’s place, and thinking about the pond and Rouen Cathedral, it occurred that the story in his paintings changed dramatically depending on light, depending on wind, depending on cloudy day or clear. I thought how mood altering the presence or absence of sunlight can be to some people. It occurred that Monet was telling a story about the world we live in with his paintings, as was Rodin with his sculptures of people.
Maybe this story-telling thought isn’t much of a deal. I can only speak for myself. I guess, on this trip, visiting these chapels or artistic veneration, it did seem to me that all art is story telling. Painting, sculpture, architecture, music. Writing, of course, and spoken stories, of course.
Vacations can be times of rest, to get away from the grind for a bit. But it seems that maybe eyes need vacations too. They need to get away from what they are so used to seeing to be able to register subtleties that are always there, but in the hustle and bustle, in the brow sweat and earning daily bread, eyes can be like a camera that pans a scene, but the shutter isn’t tripped so the scene isn’t captured.
There were a lot of nice things that happened on our vacation, but I’m very happy my eyes had a vacation too.