In my third year of college, I moved from the dorm to an apartment with a couple of friends. I furnished my bedroom with mattresses on the floor, two white plastic milk crates for nightstands and on the wall behind my bed, a 6 foot wide by 4 foot tall poster of a Monet water lily painting.
I’d paid a local photo store to mount the poster to foam core. When I went to pick it up, the mounted poster, of course, did not fit into the trunk nor the back seat of my Honda Civic. Determined to have it that day, I slid it into the back seat as far as it would go and drove home, holding the car door against it with my left hand while steering and shifting with my right.
At that time, it never crossed my mind that I might walk around the actual water lily pond that inspired the painting, but yesterday I did.
We took a train to the village of Vernon where we rented two rickety bikes, then rattled and squeaked our way the 3 miles to Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s home and gardens.
We walked through Monet’s home and I took only a few photos: of the garden view from a window upstairs, and of the kitchen because I want to cook there, maybe some French Onion Soup or Baked Eggs (that set of copper pots!). My impression of Monet is that he was a private person; because of that I couldn’t shake the feeling of being an intruder in his home.
But in his gardens, among the enthusiastic bird song and fastidious bees, I felt entirely welcome.