Finding Peace in Solitude

Beyond Monet

The holidays were amazing. Family. Laughter. A little stress here and there (what’s a family gathering without it?). Beautiful gifts. Board games. And the FOOD…oh my gosh, the food was amazing! Gingerbread houses, skillet breakfasts, surf and turf, a chocolate reveal at midnight on NYE. I will say that I overestimated how much pizza our crew could eat on one occasion and we spent a couple of days working through a stack of family sized thin crust varieties for meals. Whoops! Sorry, everyone…you may not feel like eating that again for a while…. :/

It’s the sound of unbridled laughter together that sits most deeply within my memory and fills my heart with warmth and love.

One by one, everyone moved on. Back to their homes, back to their lives. Back to the Rocky Mountains, back to the Gate City. Back to work. Back to Winterim coursework. Back to reality. The tree was taken down and the magical Christmas snow quietly melted away. The house grew more and more quiet as the days passed and though it all had gone by too quickly, a welcoming, contented peace has crept over our home.

I was lucky enough to happen upon a traveling art exhibit that was just nearing its end and decided to embark on what had the promise of being a rather unique afternoon adventure. Having recently viewed the walls of a different art museum, I fully embraced the fact that my love of art is limited to that which I find beautiful. I recognize and appreciate that many works of art are created to challenge us, to make us uncomfortable, to make us think. I applaud the premise of all of that. But evidently I don’t care to be challenged in that particular way.

I love things that are beautiful and uncomplicated. My mother would probably have scoffed and given me a wave of her hand in irritation at such silliness and simplicity. But now that I recognize this about myself, I can actually fully embrace the art I do admire.

I went by myself to the “Beyond Monet” exhibit on one of the last days it was in town. It was breathtakingly magical. All of the beauty created by Claude Monet’s brushstrokes came to life and surrounded me, filling me with awe and inspiring me to revisit my own creativity. To make sure that I don’t allow the craziness of the world to creep in and flood our home, our lives, our existence.

The colors washed over me, the steam engines came to life and the boats sailed away over the ocean. The haystacks filled the fields while birds swooped down from above. The water lilies lazily glided by and picnics in the French countryside brought forth a tranquility I hope to carry with me for many weeks to come.

Friends later asked who I’d gone to the show with, curious that I hadn’t mentioned anyone else when recounting my adventure. But some things, I find, are most authentically experienced on your own. Solitude, I find, is something that brings harmony to my thoughts and replenishes my soul.

Solitude also meant there was no one with me in the gift shop to give me a sensible phrase or two when I decided to drop 50 bucks on “The Monet Cookbook.”

Perhaps I should have listened to my own inner voice of reason at that point, but she seemed to have been squelched by the enchanting vision of myself baking strawberry mousse at Giverny while the sunset over the gardens fills the sky with the pinks and purples of a painted canvas.

“I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.” ~Claude Monet.

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