Each year, as the months lean toward Easter, a blessed event occurs around the corner from where I live. A curbside swath of rubyred poppies appears, resurrecting themselves from the earth. They herald the entrance to an enormous Catholic Church and the grounds crew let them grow wild and free – the truest of devotions. Reminds me of this graceful Monet I saw many years ago at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
I am entranced by the tumbling poppies, rolling down the hill, caught in the thrall of spring. A lovely lady in a straw bonnet leads the stroll, swinging a pale blue parasol. Children’s finger’s find the poppy heads an irresistible pluck. The manor hills loll behind.
Monet underscores the peacefulness of this pastoral setting by equally proportioning the expanses of sky and field. The diagonal sweeps of red poppies bring a sense of motion and pull you in to the composition, inviting you to join the party. If you draw a line between the mother and son grouping on the hill and the mother and child group on the plain, you will see that it follows the line of the poppies. Your eye meanders down this imaginary path, anticipating the figures walking down the hillside.
A big tree blossoms from the mid-ground, puffs skyward, adding motion and charm. You find the manor house hidden like an Easter egg in the background. And the sky, the glorious sky with clouds that waken your sleeping soul. You remember skies like that, the ones that make you think you’ve seen eternity.