Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Five Dollars Will Buy You a Rainbow



Friday's sunshine lit my face leaving a warm tinge across my cheeks. I tossed my shawl across the back seat so the light could fall across my shoulders as we drove. We headed north into a beautiful spring day of blue skies, eager to reach the tulip fields in Skagit County. These fields are grown only for the bulbs which will be sold. One day they will be blooming in gardens across the country. We have been visiting these tulip fields for years, even before we married. It is a special occasion for us when we make this pilgrimage north.

This is the first year we could not have our annual picnic of delicious Dungeness crab sandwiches. The crabmeat is shredded across bread which has been drizzled with some kind of yummy relish spread. Plain, simple, and delicious. Reidel's, where we bought these sandwiches, has been torn down; the right of eminent domain toppled a store where we shopped every time we were in the valley. Yes, even Skagit county is growing. Busy lives demand wider highways for quicker access. Visitors to the tulip and art festivals in the area and those headed to Anacortes which sits west of Burlington on the water probably created traffic jams. Now we are unable to find the saltwater taffy, garden whirl-a-gigs, windchimes, homemade Chow-Chow, pepper jellies, and BBQ sauces. They are all GONE. Berry preserves, mustards, marinades, and salad dressings that once lined the shelves along the back of the shop can't be found in local stores. We must order Chow-Chow from Dillard, Georgia and pay for shipping. We had said Goodbye and were prepared for this void since we learned about the plan last year after a whale watching trip to Anacortes, but we were sad to see the stark asphalt now storing only highway equipment instead of hosting our favorite general store.

Even though it seems each year that there are less tulip fields than we once found in La Conner, we are always so stunned by the vivid colors which await us that volume seems insignificant. Snow covered Cascades rise in the background, and fields of tulips and daffodils dance lightly in the currents of air which move into the valley from the Sound. Flower pickers create bouquets for tourists to purchase at small stands near the fields. Five dolllars will buy you a rainbow. Photographers stroll along the paths, enthralled like we are with the colors and shapes. The way sections of color move into another is like waves in the ocean becoming one body of water. A wide pathway seems headed straight into the northern Cascades. Country barns decorate the distant fields, and large stands of trees and grassy meadows surround the purples, pinks, reds, and yellows. It is surreal. It focuses you on the magical gifts of nature. It compels you to come back each year.

Along the way we found a public garden across from one of the tulip fields and decided to explore. We were alone in the garden. In the stillness of the late afternoon we found a very old cherry tree with withered, tangled arms still pink with blossoms. Beyond it other trees leaned in odd angles to the ground, beautiful in their asymmetry. A wooden bench invited meditation and silent appreciation. Early blooming rhododendrons, tulips and daffodils were scattered about the garden. Pure serenity, a quiet treasure, this perfect gift of nature brought another perspective to the day's journey.

Springtime lights the country in magnificent colors, but the Pacific Northwest is remarkably radiant at the moment, and we love to watch her glow! Consider a visit and see for yourself.

All photography is from our private collection and cannot be reproduced or used in any manner without our explicit and written permission.
Photographs were taken in La Conner, Washington
in the Skagit Valley region of the state.

15 comments:

Tammy said...

(((Sky))) Your blogging again...Yay! Those tulips are gorgeous and I enjoyed Merwin's poem.

I've caught up with Tara and I wanted to let you know you're in my thoughts. I've missed your poetry treasures!

HUGS

Kerstin said...

Oh wow, I didn't know you had these tulip fields, I love them! Another reason to look forward to moving there; I still feel so heartsick over having given away our kitties, but your photos bring some sunshine and joyful anticipation back into my heart. Thank you, Sky!

rdl said...

It sounds and looks as lovely as you say!

mm said...

What truly stunning photographs. And I share the mini-heartbreak when much loved stores/houses/fields are sacrificed to wider roads.

Thank you for this Sky. That first photograph in particular is superb ....

♥nova-san said...

Sky! You live near Seattle, right? I'm planning a trip to Seattle in June sometime for the birth of my friend's first baby. Maybe, just maybe, if you're free, we can meet up somewhere!

I can't wait to see for myself all this beauty that you've so photographed so well!

Patry Francis said...

Through you, I've gotten to see the rainbow, and it didn't even cost me five dollars! But oh, I wish I had been there!

MB said...

Sky, that really is lovely country. I've never gotten to see the tulip fields in bloom before, though. Great colors!

Kip de Moll said...

I saw a lot of beautiful sights when I lived in Oregon, but never knew to go see the tulips. Thanks for sharing.
Kip
http://piecesofheartvt.blogspot.com

Suzann said...

Fantastic - I want to come next year and see it for myself. Thank you Sky, just breathtaking.

Kip de Moll said...

Sky, I was on the northern coast, Neahkahnie Mtn. My other blog tells a pretty good story about living there: http://artisanbuilders.blogspot.com/2008/01/second-story.html. Just beyond the end of the story, my sister had a son named Skye.

Tabor said...

What a lovely way to welcome spring! I also feel sad when small businesses with the personalized products are replaced by something stupid. With this recession maybe we will slow that destructive process.

Devon Ellington said...

Lovely. I had forgotten about those gorgeous tulip fields out that way.

Devon
Ink in My Coffee

Brenda said...

Your writing leaves me with the scent of fresh-cut flowers that continue to blossom long after you've laid your pen down. I can't get enough of you, woman of Psyche and Eros myth, of East of the Sun and West of the Moon...

I read this ages ago, and kept the tulips as freshly as your gorgeous photographs in my enamoured memory, but only came by today to acknowledge you, your effect.

Thank you, dear Sky, for your talent and your giving of it in beautiful posts like this.

"The way sections of color move into another is like waves in the ocean becoming one body of water" - how gorgeous is that!

xo

colleen said...

Can't look and not SMILE. I'll post more baby photos if you post more flowers!

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Amazing images, Sky. A wonderful sight. Thanks for posting them.