823. Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. ~Claude Monet

 It has been said that art is a tryst,
for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet.
~Kojiro Tomita

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Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet
and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale
‘til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene over and over again in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of seasons. And as he had unwavering confidence in himself as an artist, he would do whatever it took to advance his career including purchasing a boat at the age of thirty-three which with his knowledge of boats he rendered into a studio boat, an act significant both on a personal and a practical level. At Giverny Monet’s lily ponds would become the subjects of his best-known works. It was in 1899 that he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that were to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.

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So be very careful to love the Lord your God. ~Joshua 23:11  ✝

**I found the above information about Monet on the Internet; the first collage I created included my photos of poppies at Giverny along with a photo of Monet’s famous “poppies” painting. In the second collage I included a photo of one of Monet’s paintings of his Japanese bridge and lily pond along with some photos I took of such. Then for the final collage I used a photo of a signed painting of his studio boat and an assortment of flowers I found at Giverny along with a part of two rooms in his house and signs pointing the way to Giverny.

22. Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~Anatole France

Most cats do not approach humans recklessly.
The possibility of weapons, clods, or sticks
tend to make them reserved. . .
Much ceremony must be observed,
and a number of diplomatic feelers put out,
before establishing a state of truce.
~Lloyd Alexander

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A beautiful stray cat came into our world some time back, and slowly but surely we managed to earn some of his trust.  From his size at the time he started coming into our yard we decided he was about a year old, and from his behavior it was apparent he had had some unfriendly encounters with humans.  However, as time went on he seemed to take more and more of a liking to us, and eventually he chose to stay in our yard most of the time.  As he became more accustomed to our presence, he started letting us get close enough to pet him.  Then one day he began loving us back in the way that feral cats do, but the exchanges were always done with that predictable element of guarded caution.  For example when I’d be out working in the yard, he’d follow me wherever I went and throw himself down to nap while I worked, but he never fell so fast asleep or got so close that he couldn’t make a fast get away if need be.  As the months passed he became more accepting of us, so much so that he followed me into my studio one afternoon and napped there.  Subsequently that became a daily thing, and he would even remain there on cold, cold nights.  After that winter, we were so in hopes he would one day let us pick him up and get him in a carrier to go to the vet’s for his shots and neutering.  Sadly though his trust fell just short of that.

The cat clawed its way into my heart
and wouldn’t let go. . .
When you’re used to hearing purring
and suddenly it’s gone, it’s hard to silence
the blaring sound of sadness.
~Missy Altijd

For a short period of time this yellow cat we named Beastie called our yard his home. We had managed to establish “a state of truce” with him, but as it turned out it was never going to be a complete surrender.   One day the call of the wild became much stronger than the call of the safe and secure.  The first time he left us, he was only gone for 6 days, but then he left again the next day for another 5 days.  After the third departure we never saw him again.  What became of our little feline friend we’ll never know.

Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er fraught heart
and bids it break.
~William Shakespeare

When Beastie disappeared for good, he took pieces of my heart with him, and if I hadn’t given my grief to words, as Shakespeare suggests, I fear my “fraught” heart would have broken and all its chambers flooded with tears.  Jean Burden was right when she said, “Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, a cat is still only a whisker away from the wilds.”  The Beast Man was never far from his feral beginnings, and when the wild called, he could do naught but answer.  Agnes Repplier summed it up best when she said, “it’s impossible to banish these alert, gentle, and discriminating little friends, who give us just enough of their regard and complaisance to make us hunger for more.”  Indeed, I have hungered for more ever since; in fact I’m still hungering and hurting because there’s no more of his sweet life to be shared.  My big backyard that I love so much seems like an empty and lonely place without that “silly” yellow cat to keep me company.  He was a confidant and consultant in my garden dreams and schemes, and I was his protector from pesky mockingbirds wanting to keep him from their nests and from any and all suspicious human interlopers.  I know I need to put this behind me and move on, but it has been a long time since grief has had so heavy a hold on my heart.  There was just something compelling and charming about that sweet boy, and he, a cherished presence too soon lost, will be forever missed.