17 April 2017

Take Me To Church

I went to church today.  Friends just paused upon reading this and thought wait, what?  Sh*t must have really gone sideways.

It's not the church you're thinking of.  Up here in this corner of the universe, there is something called the Tulip Festival.  It is fields upon fields of beautiful tulips of all colors, including two businesses that feature elaborate tulip gardens.  It is not unlike walking into Oz from a black and white landscape. 

The locals hate this festival because nothing defines misery like thousands of extra cars and people unfamiliar with the place; all on narrow farm roads.  It lasts about two weeks and traffic is a misery, for sure.  It's one of those situations that it's a shame the locals don't get to also appreciate the beauty, kind of like New Yorkers who never see the Empire State Building or that you get so used to your surroundings that you simply don't "see" them anymore.

This is another year that I've randomly chosen a morning to go explore.  I arrived as the gates open to ensure there is little nonsense with traffic and ugh, people.  The weather was mixed today in a typical Pacific Northwest kind of day, bipolar with a chance of rain.  These fields are on the flats so it's always windy, today was no exception. 

Like a teenager, I chose my favorite music, put in my headphones,  put my hoodie up and entered into the world of the technicolor. (music choice, you ask?  it was a shuffle featuring everything from Keith Whitley to Lady Gaga to Les Miserables)

Once inside, everyone speaks in hushed tones.  The environment is something between the reverence of a church and communing with Mother Nature's best artistry.  Especially with going so early, there aren't many folks and those who are certainly aren't rambunctious.  Even little ones are quiet and it's fun to watch the absolute wonder in their expressions.  I could spend a day just doing that.

At this venue there are areas designed like English tea gardens, there are little vignettes with benches and designs and there are huge open fields of color. Not only are there tulips but lilacs, daffodils, rhododendrons, magnolias, and other flowers that I'm unable to name other than "oooh, pretty!"
It's is adjacent to a working farm so some of the paths are muddy and there is the occasional farm smell.  To me, it's the perfect juxtaposition to the beauty.  You can't get the pretty without the ugly.
I take a million photos with just my cell phone.  Others have tripods and shades and are dancing on the edge of being intrusive.  Others manage to walk through unencumbered and I marvel at their self control and apparent memory.  (Or they've forgotten their cameras. That works too.)

The workers are also quiet, almost invisibly taking care of the flowers.  I found it sweet when I noticed one taking a photo of the lilacs this morning.  Even the folks who work in this wonderland aren't immune to its beauty.

I have to believe that the people who decided how the Land of Oz looked must have experienced gardens such as these.  It is an example of how "riot of color" has come into definition.  It's a child's imagination come to life.  It is magical and it is church.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

I love that first paragraph so much, because that is exactly the sequence of events.

I also love "You can't get the pretty without the ugly."

Paul and I want to come back to visit some day, and you are making me think we should schedule it for the Tulip Festival.