Speaking of paradise . . . a friend of ours told us about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington and as it happened to be the right time of year, I knew immediately that I wanted to go. It was a bit of a drive from Seattle and I figured it would be rainy and chilly and maybe the tulips wouldn't be out yet, but I still wanted to go! I just had the feeling we would love it, and (*self-congratulatory pat on back*) I was right! Apparently the volcanic soil of the Skagit Valley is great for growing bulbs, so several bulb farms (the bulbs sold on tulips.com, for example) are based there. I looked at all the festival maps and when I saw that the daffodils would be in bloom, I was so excited! (As you know, I love daffodils. Even more than tulips, maybe.) So we set out on a cloudy morning for what my aunt assured us would look "just like Switzerland." I knew Sam and my mom were mostly just indulging me in agreeing to spend a day doing this, and I appreciated it. I would plan all our trips around gardens and flower shows if I could!
We went in and out of rain showers as we drove, but by the time we reached the valley, the sun was out and the skies were blue. It was perfect (if slightly muddy). The nearby bay was gorgeous with the shifting clouds above.
Roadside picnic and trail-exploring. We stopped at a little dairy farm to buy chocolate milk and cheese. I talked to the owner's daughter who made all the cheeses, and it was fascinating. She names the cheeses after her children. I wish I had a cheese named after me!
Tree-lined road (I love the green!)
Cows. Baby cows (yes, I know they're calves, but I can't seem to think of them as anything but baby cows) were everywhere on this trip, and so cute! I kept pointing them out to everyone in the car (at first the boys cared, but after a while their 'wow!'s became somewhat insincere). As we drove home to Utah at the end of the week, Sam asked me if I was "baby-cowed-out," to which I replied, "Never, never!"
A couple of the bulb farms have display gardens and stores, etc. that you can stop at. This one (Roozengaarde) was so lovely--pretty little paths to wander through, and so many varieties of flowers! Seeing these boys you would think it was below freezing outside. It was actually a lovely warm day and all normal people were in short sleeves or light sweaters. But they were pretending to be robots, which meant hoods on, apparently.
Hyacinths. The scent right here was heavenly.
So you could see the tulips were starting to show a tiny bit of color, almost ready to bloom. Next week they are going to be gorgeous, I bet. (There are some beautiful pictures here. Some of these must have been taken the same day we were there; I recognize the clouds. Looks like the tulips are starting to come out now---I wish we could go back, because I'd love to see the tulip fields too.) But I wasn't too sad to miss them, because the whole reason I wanted to go to this area was . . .
the daffodils! I'm not exaggerating when I saw I looked forward to them all week long; I couldn't wait to get to the fields. Finally we rounded a bend and saw those acres of pure yellow laid out like spilled paint below us. The intensity and saturation of that color took my breath away. This field above, I think, was one they used for selling cut flowers. You can see how sparse it is compared with the flower-covered one in the background, but I think the contrast (there are, after all, lots of daffodils even in this sparse part) helps show just how concentrated those pure yellow fields were.
And I'm making these pictures huge, because . . . well, just because I want to, I guess. I wish I could make them life-size and panoramic too, so you could feel what it was like to be surrounded by all that yellow.
Oh, I love them so much. Can you even believe places like this exist? I love this path, curving into the endless ripples of gold. I felt like I was in a yellow ocean. I wanted to lie down on my back and let it surround me (but it was too muddy, of course). I found it amazing how you could see the flowers glow from within, like shaped glass under light. (Is this why I found glass such an apt vehicle for portraying the living, natural world?)