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Monet's Garden Before My Eyes

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Monet’s Garden Before My Eyes
by Ilene Gold

Monet’s Garden located in the town of Giverny, is just about an hour outside of Paris, but I had not been able to visit on my last trip to Paris over 25 years ago. I had dreamed of going back to Paris and going to Monet’s home. Time seemed to get in the way and slowly my dreams were put on hold. Raising a family and working were my priorities, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, over three years ago, I knew I had to live my dreams now. After my recovery, I decided that I wanted to travel back to Paris and visit Giverny to see Monet’s home.

When I teach art to my art students, included is a class on Monet’s garden. For the project we start with using watercolors for the garden, pond and lily pads. Once this is dry, we use small craft sticks and create a bridge on top of the watercolors. Parents always tell me that this is their favorite project. So, when I saw the Ladies Home Journal contest, to write a life changing experience, I had written of my diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, how it changed my outlook on the future and to live life to its fullest, to make my dreams real. Hoping I would win the contest and thus be able to afford my trip to Paris. Sadly, I did not win, but I knew that I had to see Monet’s Garden, even if I had to save for the rest of the year.

My family and I decided to visit Paris this spring, my top priority was to visit Monet’s home in Giverny. I had seen the Eiffel Tower and even been to the Louvre when I was in my twenties, but now I had to see the place I talked about in my art classes.

Needless to say, Monet’s Garden was spectacular. As I turned and entered the garden, I was amazed with all of the flowers, but when I finally saw the lily pads in the pond and the bridge, I saw Monet’s paintings in my head. Like a canvas coming to life, each brush stroke, just as I had imagined Monet had painted.The cluster of pale green liliy pads, surrounded by a transparent clear blue pond, with vibrant flowers of orange and magenta. Each flower was more beautiful than I had imagined. The flowers and bridge were beautifully arranged. Each turn, every sight was
magnificiently designed. Those water lilies I had seen in Monet’s paintings were right in front of me. Before my eyes were Monet’s paintings, but now they had come alive. The weather was perfect, the scenery amazing, you could say, it was a picture perfect day.

Even if I didn’t win the Ladies Home Journal contest, I feel like I have won in many ways. I had my family with me, to share the day, the experience that they will have for the rest of their lives. With this beauty, we will never look at a Monet painting the same way. To truly understand the beauty that Monet had seen and captured in his paintings.

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