The waterlilies were in bloom. Blue, yellow, pink, white. Casting reflections on the shadowy water under the willow trees. The very willow trees that inspired the Impressionists’ master, Claude Monet.
In the distance was the yellow house where he lived with his large family, where he daubed paint on canvases that we love so well today, where he built a studio big enough to create the canvases that fill L’Orangerie in Paris.
I could hardly believe it. I was in Giverny. It was a beautiful later summer day. Some flowers were fading, the stems bending under the weight of a summer of growth but most of the gardens behind Monet’s house were ablaze with color. Bees hummed happily from blossom to blossom. Children giggled behind the tall flowers. Lovers held hands and families posed for photos on the green bridge. Most of us, I’m sure of it, held our breath as we stood there, there where Monet had stood, admiring the flowers he planted and painted.
We had only a few hours to wander the gardens, tour the rooms and studios of his house, walk the streets of the tiny town about 50 miles from Paris. But what a few hours they were!
I was in Giverny. And the waterlilies were in bloom.
ⓒ Photos and text by Mary K. Tilghman