Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Abundance

It is starting – that occasional experience of abundance just as I have grown accustomed and even attuned to sparseness.

If I have begun to pride myself on not expecting more than is realistic in a particular situation, exuberance seems suddenly to flame out before me.

Generosity erupts in the face of hopes that I have learned to keep modest.

Not enough snow this winter? Not enough winter? Not enough rain? Not enough sun? The rhododendrons that border the walkway to my front door have emerged, nonetheless, with all their accustomed color and vigor.

I took a Saturday morning walk through a favorite old cemetery for what is usually a solitary pleasure. I needed to follow signs this weekend to find parking given the number of cars lining the cemetery roadways. The deeper into the cemetery I walked, the more visitors I discovered – one crew of birdwatchers aiming their binoculars into the branches high above us, well-heeled visitors driving as close as they could to white tents set up for a reception before the cemetery chapel.

One picture that I took of a venerable old monument became a picture instead of the green background of trees through which the morning sun was flooding. The very shadows in which the monument stands seem green in the picture, so lush is the May growth of leaves.

On Sunday afternoon I headed down to Providence for a visit to a museum of excellent reputation but what I presumed were modest holdings. Thirty-five years living in New England, I did not know what to expect of the RISD Museum. Paintings by Tiepolo and Poussin, Cezanne and Renoir, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent – I kept seeing works that I knew by these artists – I just hadn’t known they were in Rhode Island.

A find of the afternoon was a work by nineteenth-century French artist Charles Alexis Apoil. The portrait he painted of his son and himself hangs in the Grand Gallery. It took my heart away.


Anonymous said...

Le peintre dont vous parlez était un élève de Eugène Devéria.Il fut témoin à son mariage qui a eu lieu en Avignon en 1841.Mme Apoil peignait elle aussi.
Ici aussi avec le beau temps il y a des fleurs partout au jardin.

Jo d'Avignon.

Donald said...

Je ne connais pas Eugène Devéria. Vous m'apprenez quelque chose. Merci.