I love tulips. They're my favourite flowers. And that's saying something considering I worked for a rose grower in my ill-spent youth.
Tulips are graceful and delicate, like all flowers. But they are so much easier to work when compared to roses. Their colours are bright and bold. They are fantastic subjects for drawing or photography.
Luckily for me, Madeleine shares my enjoyment of them. Enough so that she prevailed on her mother to buy her a couple of bunches last Friday. Cheryl called me at work to tell me that she was coming to pick me up and then she said not to sit on Madeleine's treats. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my daughter hadn't asked for candy or pop, but flowers.
When we got home, I put them into vases and then up on the credenza in front of the window for all of us to enjoy. I also shot some pictures over the weekend so that Madeleine and I could continue to enjoy them after they're gone.
If you love tulips, art, and photography, you should make a note of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, now in its 23rd year. It's held annually in Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour south of here.
I first went there years ago on a weekend bike tour with my friend Richard. It's a good thing I was too broke to have a camera back then or I would have blown at least a half-dozen rolls of film on the one afternoon that we rode through the festival fields.
If you go to the festival web site you will get an idea of the scale of the event. There are miles of tulips, as far as the eye can see. The colours are so bright and bold, when you leave, you keep seeing spots of red and yellow like a flash went off.
The tulip festival is bittersweet for me too, in that it's one of the last big adventures we had with Richard and also our friends Jamie and Melissa, all those years ago. I still remember the rain, cramming into the gray Aerostar with everyone, walking around in the mud, and the amazing watercolour paintings we found at one of the art exhibits.