Sunday, May 4, 2008
Tulips in my Own Back Yard
Every year, our family makes the hour-and-ten-minute drive northward to Washington's Skagit Valley to see the annual Tulip Festival. It is the highlight of my year, signaling the advent of springtime, and renewing in me the exhilaration of the outdoors, as a gasp-worthy display of brilliant blooms undulates with the boggy terrain spread to the ends of a massive valley. If anything can revive a perfunctory relationship with God, it is this mega-dose of grandeur and beauty--stripes of intense reds, yellows, purples under a cerulean sky of lilting clouds.
My photographer's eye dances from one shot to its superior. My photographed children grimace. Eleven years ago, when we first made our tulip trek, they were cooperative, posing in the rows of flowers, their own fresh bloom happy and perfect. Over the years, however, they grew weary of this ritual, and ever more reluctant to smile while squatting in the mud. This was, of course, frustrating to me as I switched from film to digital, since now I could click unlimitedly, putting them to ever greater duress and torture.
This year, to my consternation, we missed the Tulip Festival entirely. The flowers came out two weeks late, I was deep into writing deadlines, and Passover inserted its 10-day interlude, when we were in Los Angeles, far from the swaying color-cups of the Skagit.
But--we grew tulips in pots on our patio! And one closeup of a tulip is as good as another! So, I took photos of the flowers. But, sigh, not of my squatting children, who now are much more assertive about refusing to fulfill their mother's wish.
There is no way to capture the beauty of the the tulip fields, and no way to recapture the children who skipped through the dirt aisles picking up broken flowers, collecting them into a bouquet and presenting them to me. Come on, Mom, time to move on. Here's a glimpse of my patio...