Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not the Empty Nest but the Green Bridge!

Great memory of Giverny--April 2007

My youngest child left for college last week.  For 26 years I have devoted myself to my children. Now they are all gone and I am left with the empty nest.  I have been contemplating the empty nest this week--In the silence.  By myself.  You see, my husband still leaves early every morning, as he has done for years.  And the house is quiet just like it has been for years.  But then it stays quiet.  Just me,
myself and I--and my lonely dog in the quiet house, visualizing an empty nest.  And it is depressing.

Don't worry.  I don't sit here all day.  I haven't been crying for days as some of my friends have reported doing.  I haven't binged watched bad TV or eaten myself sick on chocolate or Doritos, but I have been tempted to.  And I have been thinking about that damn empty nest.  And the empty nest is too damn depressing.  It looks dead and lonely.  I feel the need to rescript the empty nest because I just can't go there anymore.  So I have come up with a new visualization.  Instead of any empty nest, I prefer to think of this transitional time in my life as Monet's Green Bridge.

Monet's impressionist paintings have always inspired me with their peaceful, colorful and timeless qualities.  Monet was able to create breathtakingly beautiful, memorable art, by painting version after version of simple haystacks, floating waterlilies, skittering clouds.  Monet's home in Giverny, France (just outside of Paris) is a place where the artist brought his visions to life.  He planted mixed varieties of flowers in bold color groupings and had a Japanese Style green bridge constructed.  He grew the famous waterlilies and created a trellised hallway of flowers--ushering each season in a new color explosion.  He obsessed over his gardens because they brought him great joy and allowed him to draw inspiration for his art.

I have visited Monet's garden.  The place is as magical today as it was back in the late 1800's.  The famous green bridge crosses a small, lazy river.  And when you are standing on it, you see the artist's palette of gardens showing off in all their glory, decorating the river banks for as far as your eye can see.  It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever encountered.

My garden of children may be grown, but my life is far from over.  I want to take inspiration from Claude Monet.  I prefer to think of this time in my life not as an empty, lifeless nest but as the transition of one garden to the next.  I want to think of nests as full of nurturing mama birds, laying their eggs, feeding their young and nudging them into the sapphire sky to take our breath away.  And I choose to think of this time in my life, not as an empty, deserted, used up space--but a colorful and stunning bridge to a new horizon.

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  1. Love the analogies...My last is a senior in high school and I keep telling her that I am "un-nesting" which she responds with a sad alarming look and the words "but I am still in the nest!!!"

    The nest never goes away but after sending off twins when they were 18, 4 years ago and crying for a year before and for a few months after I realized that it is a time of OMG...I actually have time or so I thought. I tend to overschedule to make up for the concern of being "alone" or "not busy" and now, instead, I hear from my daughters. You don't answer my texts or calls...hmmmm...I do but not instantly answer like in the past and not intentionally but because, I am "busy". We, like many other families, never caught up after the 2008 crash and the mini crashes before that and college was many more times expensive than we ever planned for so I am now "busy" paying the bills, trying to save for retirement and dealing with the end of a relationship that "the crash" probably contributed too but, that is information for another blog. Life is different, a new bridge for sure. I love the challenge and it is invigorating but I would like a moment where I am not always clouded with the stress of catching up but that is the reality and things could be way worse. Anyway, the nest becomes full in a whole other way. I help my kids, friends and others fill and nurture their nests which is my new fulfillment.

  2. It is a choice to embrace each stage of life and look for the green bridge. Look for the simple beauty. Live with kindness and intention. Celebrate the simple pleasures. I am finding that as an accomplished 4+ is a beautiful time of life. My house stays clean. I eat and keep foods in the house that I love. I read books again. I have time to think. Every day, month, year is a gift and a lesson. I am determined to keep learning and loving.