Friday, December 07, 2007

Travel plans

The cover of a book on Claude Monet is tacked to the bulletin board on the wall in front of my desk. It is, specifically, a reproduction of one of Monet’s paintings of the Garden at Giverny. I’m caught in butter yellow water lilies and the water itself, a shimmery reflection of surrounding greenery.

I’m dressed in jeans, a sweater, socks, boots, my winter coat and a scarf. My hands are icy.

The new heating system for the college is having one of its frequent unreliable days and outside, it’s -14C.

I’m imagining strolling the garden at Giverny, eating in Monet’s blue and yellow dining room, drinking coffee in his studio, talking a little about the work, the light…

Later, I plan to visit Frieda Khalo’s blue house.

Mostly, I plan not to be here – where the Atlantic Ocean spits wind cold and damp enough to split your bones. To leave this place where, for 8 months of most years, listless grays and shriveled browns give way only to the dingy white of exhaust-stained snow. This place of shoulder-hunch and salt-stained boots and February weather bombs. Soul shrinking. Bleak.

I will take myself to Frieda’s, where tropical flowers bloom year-round – fiery reds and flaming oranges, exotic pinks and purples…the scent of heaven in the air.

Frieda waits in this alternate dimension. A pet monkey on her shoulder, flowers in her hair, the jungle breathing green behind her. We will walk to the blue house together, holding hands and laughing.