I recently visited the Musee de Orangerie in Paris. The museum holds several large paintings by Monet called Water Lilies (Les Nymphéas). The long landscapes are situated in two oval-shaped rooms. They depict the pond near the artist’s house in Giverny at different times of day. It’s all water, lily pads and weeping willows. I stood in front of the night painting for several minutes. You might have just seen the color black if you glanced at it quickly, but if you stopped to really look you saw more–blues, reds and purples. I backed away from the canvas and watched blue lily pads glow as if reflecting moonlight. You could almost hear the crickets chirp.
On the adjacent wall was morning. The light was gentle, misty–lilac, green, brown. Quiet.
Monet’s paintings remind me to pay attention to life’s easily missed peaceful moments. The paintings themselves offer such moments.