In Giverny Monet created and tended his splendid gardens, then proceeded to paint them from every particular angle in the early gilded light of morning when all was infused with bright possibility, to the dim huskiness of twilight when colors deepened, saturated with a darker maturity of the coming night. Monet painted. The endeavor, however, was far more all-consuming than the simple coupling of subject and verb suggest; it comprised the essential meaning of his life, the element which contributed a vibrant awareness, a joyful obsession that, quite simply, made him happy. Humble fellow artist though I may be, I presume to understand his simple happiness in the pursuit of a creative obsession.
I cannot see beauty in the world around me but muse and wonder: how can I express that? How can I put into words that silent wonder, that moment of speechless appreciation of the utter beauty of things, that must, if we are to pursue this particular endeavor, be translated. Words that somehow approximate and convey the immensity of reverence, the unfathomable recognition for the beauty that exists all around us in small and quiet things. Lying on the grass under the sun-filtered trees, I gaze up at the fragile underside of leaves, veins delicately traced in light and shade, some lit to an impossible brilliancy of verdant green, others cast into darker shadow. Comprising in its entirety numerous subtle shades of malachite, lime, and patchwork of olive; shifting, moving, swaying with the gentle rustle of wind through the branches, a golden patchwork of light falls like discarded lace on the ground. And there echoing through my mind is my insistent muse, my demanding muse, my editor-in-the-making who clamors: Write this! Write this!
For like other mere mortals, I struggle with that incessant need to record for posterity. Make this moment eternal. Capture in words the luminescent beauty of nature that is there for a moment and then gone, leaves lit to incandescent jade, then gone, dark and obscure as the sun dies beyond the horizon. A pressure to memorialize. Common to all writers perhaps? To be utterly honest, and I feel that within the confines of my blog complete veracity is indeed mandated - Monet is not my favorite painter. I am less of an Impressionism appreciator than a realism advocate. I admire Carravagio and van Dyck. Perhaps it is because their masterpieces are more easily translated for a humble wordsmith such as myself - tortured torsos depicted in painstaking verisimilitude...one can perceive the sweaty sheen of muscle strained, the agonized rolling of the whites of the eyes...
But Monet, favorite or otherwise, teaches us an incalculable lesson: discover your passion, cultivate it, protect it, examine it in all the varying illuminations...and, most importantly, enable the joy. The pain will be there but only from the frustrations of inadequacy, the feeling that the exquisite beauty cannot be captured, in pigment nor in words...but humans strive onwards, struggle to reach a plateau of self-perceived perfection. For myself, if I can succeed in describing the way light caresses the leaves of trees as it dances in light and shadow across the mossy ground, if I can approach in words what Monet managed in paint, well then I would be joyful indeed.