Blue Water Lilies by Monet
I didn’t get very far in the Impressionists’ Gallery at the Musee d’Orsay. I think I was generally overwhelmed by it all; I was still pretty quiet inside after the catacombs and I found I was shrinking away from the beauty on show. I found a seat and sat and wrote about the Degas picture and found that slowly calmed me, much as I imagined the combing of her hair calmed the red head in the picture.
I wandered round, feeling lost and in need of a quiet haven of peace and found it in the Monet room.
I was unprepared for the sheer power of the paintings. I knew most of them from birthday cards and posters but they had never had the punch of the real ones.
The Blue water lilies drew me in and kept me. I wanted to find a deck chair and sit and watch for dragonflies and for fish rising to the surface. I could smell the river smell, sweet and dank at the same time with a green scent of the grass on the banks crushed beneath my dress. The light was going, and I was waiting for the first stars to emerge in the navy blue sky. Somewhere close by a blackbird began tuning up for his evening serenade.
I came to myself, standing open-mouthed amid a bustle of multi-national tourists and was back in the dust and heat of a sweltering Paris afternoon with only the prospect of a ride on the Metro and another busy evening to look forward to.
Later, riding round Paris by night on the coach, giving a commentary that no one seemed to listen to, I let my mind return to the cool blue lake and the blooming lilies and felt that calm and peace return, long enough to get me back to the hotel and into bed. My blue nightlight soothed me to sleep, overheated and exhausted as I was, and as I slid uneasily into sleep, the blackbird sang somewhere close by in my mind and I slid below the surface of the water and was at peace.