Kathy asked yesterday which site in France was our favorite. Wow! That’s a hard one! Alan said Mont St. Michel, and there’s definitely something to that! I feel like we came home with a lifetime of unforgettable memories, and that narrowing it down to one favorite is nigh unto impossible given the uniqueness of the various scenic places. However, for an over-the-top sensory experience in color, texture, fragrance— even sound…in fact, pure, unmitigated beauty everywhere I turned, I would vote for Giverny, the sublimely riotous gardens so artistically designed by Claude Monet.Monet (1840-1926) was the great father of —and most prolific contributor to—French impressionistic painting. Ten years ago, Alan and I visited the fantastic gardens of Giverny with two of our kids (Kathy and Jonathan), and we were enthralled. Five years ago, I reflected on those visions of glory while visiting Manito Park in Spokane, Washington with Jon’s family (https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/monets-giverny-reflections-of-glory/).This May, Alan and I visited again, this time with our two youngest, Stephen and Joel, and I have to say that if anything, Giverny is even more than ever an unforgettable kaleidoscope of color and perfumes! The Japanese bridge over Monet’s lily pond (basis for his most famous paintings) was bursting with exuberant wisteria, and cheerful beds of tulips interlaced with forget-me-nots and a profusion of other spring-blooming plants were joyfully overflowing their bounds along every path. We could have sat transfixed for hours at any resting place without ever taking in all the intricacies right before my eyes. Even if I possessed all the money in the world, I couldn’t imagine or produce such a magnificent display of brilliant color. The impact was so overwhelming that I just found myself laughing and blinking my eyes, like I’d walked into a Thomas Kinkade painting of heaven! In fact, it did make me think of heaven, which will be more glorious and exotic and dazzlingly beautiful than we can imagine. Are you ready? Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:1-16)(Yes, all these photos are from Giverny, taken a couple of weeks ago [except for the photo of Claude Monet from Wiki, and Mont St. Michel, taken a few days later]. May is perhaps the most beautiful time to visit!)