I had no idea, as we wandered through Giverny and Claude Monet’s famous gardens last week, how apropos my favorite Monet quote would become.
“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love,” he said.
With their gorgeous riot of color maintained for more than 225 years, both the flower and the water gardens stand as universal symbols of empathy and joy. Monet, who painted his famous water lilies series as “a monument to peace”, was right.
It is not necessary to understand a devout woman’s desire to cover up, or a conservative parent’s honest fears, or a young man’s same sex attraction, or a transgender person’s surgical choices. It is simply necessary to love.
In their drive to celebrate the extraordinary beauty in ordinary life, Monet and his fellow Impressionists spawned a whole movement. But you don’t have to be a painter or even an art aficionado to belong to their club.
You can see the kind of beauty they championed every day in the immigrant’s bright, flowered dress, the graduate’s happy gold tassel, the infant’s sleepy smile, the couple’s sweet hand clasp.
You only have to look.
Our time in this big, beautiful world is finite. We all only have the few precious days we get to spend here, and the legacy we leave behind.
I choose to spend my days seeking color, light and love. I choose Monet.