Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Accidental Beauty

"I like the accidental nature of being in the real world." -Beeban Kidron

Some years ago - maybe ten or twelve - I went to Washington's famed Skagit Valley tulip fields to take pictures of the annual spring miracle. 

Field upon field upon field - as far as the eye can see - are filled with row upon row upon row of tulips, 

gloriously colored,
geometrically perfect, 
swaying ever so slightly on their stiff green stems in the gentle breeze.

As anyone who has ever seen them - and most Seattleites have made the trip - will tell you, this is quite a sight.

I'd been to the fields before this particular trip, so I knew just how to catch a great shot. Pay a few dollars to park your car not at one of the garden centers but along one of the fields where visitors are welcome, and traipse back along muddy lanes through the acreage to get a proper vista of the wide-open fields. 

I was with several of my then-teenage daughters and a friend or two, and that's exactly what we did. 

The girls wandered off by themselves, as girls that age will do, and I was left to roam on my own. After filling my camera roll with countless shots of the brilliant fields, I navigated my own way around giant puddles and deep trenches of mud, and in the bend of the narrow track, I came across an ancient red, rusty tractor parked off to the side.

Hitched to the back of the tractor was an even older wagon. It looked to be a custom job, improvised from rugged and well-worn wood. The sides stood maybe two feet above the open bed of the wagon, but from my perspective, I couldn't see inside.

So I walked around to the back of the wagon, and this is what I saw. 


Armloads of discarded tulips lay heaped in the wagon, 

colors gently muted, 
petals slightly worn, 
stems softly curving and ever so slightly wilted.


And while these were apparently considered substandard in some way to the regimented soldiers still standing at attention in the fields, I thought that the faded blooms lying in the back of the wagon were the most beautiful tulips I'd ever seen. 

I admire their accidental beauty, even to this day.

* * * * * 

Before the tulips, daffodils bloom. Read about that visit here.

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