The other afternoon, I spent more than an hour driving off into the countryside. I wasn't sure exactly where I was going but I wandered around till I found what I was looking for.. a farmer's field. Leaving my car on the side of the road, I went for a walk in that field. It was full of mud.
Also puddles. Muddy mud puddles.
Not small puddles either. Large ones that, in some places, blocked my path. One puddle was so huge that I was forced to squeeze myself up against a barbed wire fence as I tried to slip by.
But it was worth my effort. Because on the other side of that barbed wire was a sight to behold.
Fields full of brilliant tulips in riotous bloom. In fact, I was surrounded by them on all sides.
The Skagit Valley, about an hour north of my Seattle-area home, is a vast flood plain with perfect conditions for the business of growing tulip bulbs. Luckily for the rest of us, tulip farmers must allow the bulbs to bloom before they are ready to be harvested and sold. So each April, when the sun warms the soil to just the right point, this earth explodes with color.
There are no words to properly describe the experience of visiting these fields. Just look at the pictures and image the sweetly scented air, the warmish sun and cool breeze, the clouds fluttering across the sky, and the groups of people scattered through the fields, laughing, exploring, and taking photos.
As my visit neared its end, and I thought my eyes had feasted till they could feast no more, I came upon a surprise. In a remote corner of the fields, I found a big red tractor with muddy wheels.
Attached to the back of the tractor was a simple open cart. And tossed on the wooden planks of that cart was a small pile of tulips - leaves, stems and blossoms - that had been pulled from the ground.
Poor things were just lying there, tossed willy-nilly into a heap, sadly left to die. But somehow, to me, they seemed the most beautiful thing I had seen all day.