Just a few days ago, the greens were dotted with so many tiny yellow wildflowers, you know the ones that stick close to the ground and look relentlessly cheerful. Dandelions. Today as I ran by the Hudson on this decidedly cool Sunday, millions of minute grey ripples dissolving into the stones of the breakwater, I noted that the dandelions have transitioned into balls of white puff. So now there are carpets of white blooms waiting to be blown away by the wind.
The joys of the season are unlimited, aren’t they? Just a few weeks ago, I was staring at rows of tulips which seemed to nod under the bright blue skies that hung over the Skagit Valley in Washington. Even before we made it to the tulip fields, I was enchanted by the traditional barns that stood upon open green fields and pastures, the horses, the startling blue of the Pacific in the distance. There were fields of crops everywhere we looked. For miles it was flat countryside with the Cascades on the horizon and it was the trappings of the rural life that you saw in the Skagit.
If the Skagit grows enough potatoes, kale and cabbage to feed the entire country, it has enough tulips every spring to satiate the senses. The first tulip bulbs travelled to the Skagit from the Netherlands in 1906, courtesy a woman called Mary Brown Stewart.
We ended up at acres of tulips at Roozengarde, a tulip garden started by William Roozen from Heemstede in Holland. He left behind his 200-year-old bulb family business back home in the wake of German troops withdrawing from Holland after WWII. With his wife, Roozen arrived in the Skagit Valley. It had captured his heart during an earlier visit. He worked with bulb farmers and then bought over the Washington Bulb Company that is said to be the largest producer of tulips, irises and daffodils in the country.
In the Roozengarde with its small windmill and fields of tulips, I was overwhelmed. Never had I seen so many beautiful blooms in so many different colours. Neither could I stop exclaiming at the size of the bulbs. Adi had to stay back to work but the in-laws and I feasted our eyes upon this cornucopia of bulbs on a sunny day and wound up at a Snow Goose Produce where the ice creams were as massive as a sumo wrestler’s fist. As I walked with my overladen waffle cone, topped up with creamy dollops of maple and coffee flavours, towards a bench, a woman laughed and wondered aloud if I could indeed finish this not-so-modest treat. No pressure, of course. So I sat with my mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law with our respective booties, stared at the snowy cone of Mount Baker in the distance, and let my nose too have a fair share of the wonderful ice cream before we left with sticky hands and happy faces.
As for the ice cream, it remained an unfinished business, but we shall keep it for another day at Snow Goose when I have fasted for a week at the least.
For what is this life if not for lofty aspirations?
And a dandelion for the day.