Nature Teaches Us About Facets of Truth

by Lisa DeRosa
1215px Claude Monet Stacks of Wheat End of Summer 1985.1103 Art Institute of Chicago

by Catherine Lawton,

When I attended the Monet exhibition at the Denver Art Museum two years ago, I enjoyed viewing up close the originals of many of Claude Monet’s famous paintings. He is known, in part, for painting the same scene in different light, different seasons, and from different angles. This might bring to mind his many colorful and dreamy paintings of his water lily pond or of the haystack as seen in the above photos.
About this practice of his, Monet wrote:
“Above all, I wanted to be truthful and exact. For me, a landscape hardly exists at all as a landscape, because its appearance is constantly changing… You have to know how to seize just the right moment in a landscape instantaneously, because that particular moment will never come again, and you’re always wondering if the impression you got was truthful.” ~Claude Monet 1880
Monet’s observation and intuition describes, in a way, how I feel about the seasons of life and nature. I want to live each day being present to and attentive to the subtle changes of light and shadow, color and shape. I want to let them speak to me, let God speak to me through the truth of the moment, always also looking for the possibilities of the next moment.
I feel this way about writing a poem as well. The desire to be accurate to the feelings and truth of a moment, to seize and distill it in just the right “colors” and interplay of words to give an impression that expresses truth of “that particular moment” that will never come again in the very same light but speaks of both the imminent and the transcendent.
One year I made a practice of taking a photo of my pollinator-friendly xeriscape garden, from the same angle every month of the year, to document how it changed, and how differently it presented itself and spoke to me. Some plants come up earlier, some later. Some flowers bloom only in spring; others begin flowering in mid-summer. Different species of birds visit the feeders and water bowls in different seasons. The colors of the birds’ plumage changes from duller in the winter to vivid in the spring. Light plays differently on tree leaves and pine boughs as it shines direct and bright from above or paints a golden glow from lower in the sky. One season or time of day does not tell the whole truth of the garden. Just as one visit in one setting doesn’t tell you all about a person or a group of people.
God will speak to us in all seasons and show us different perspectives about the situations, events, and people around us. Take time to consider whether (as Monet said) “the impression you got was truthful.”
610px Claude Monet Graystaks I

Claude Monet Graystaks

1274 Grainstacks Snow Effect Meules effet de neige 1890 91 60 x 100cm Oil on Canvas Hill Stead Museum Farmington CT

Grainstacks Snow Effect

I had Monet’s words and my own experiences and observations in mind when I wrote this poem:

Nature Doesn’t Lie

Nature’s truth presents in facets, angles of
     changing light,
     filtering seasons.
Observe in stages or you won’t know its truth.
     You cannot know with
     one passing click or
     fleeting look.
It doesn’t show you its whole self all at once, so
     be still,
Recognition, Respect, Revealing come in
     happens there.
Be present to a flower, tree, or pond, and
     gradually it will
     be present to you
     in truth.
~Catherine Lawton
Feature photo: By Claude Monet –, Public Domain,

Embark on this healing journey with Christine Sine, Lilly Lewin, and Bethany Dearborn Hiser with the Time to Heal Online Course. Each session is lead by one of our instructors and allows you 180 days of access for only $39.99. The goal of this course is to provide time, space, and tools to work toward healing.

Time to Heal Online Course 1

You may also like

1 comment

rodney.marsh38 October 12, 2021 - 4:36 pm

Thanks Catherine – Beautiful.
On my way to work I have a wonderful view of the ocean and rocks…. I thought this is always the same view but never the same view…. always new like life

Leave a Comment