Upon seeing the tulips in the Skagit Valley for the first time, I fell in love with the setting.
Morning light, dew laden earth.
The rows of tulips are long.
The colors are lush.
In the distance, I see groups of people on the perimeters of the fields. I think to myself, they must be on a guided tour or a field trip of some sort. As I continue to walk about the fields, I see similar small groups of people huddled in the rows of tulips.
Walking along the thoroughfare through the field of tulips, I find myself on a path perpendicular to the rows and rows of tulips. It is a wide, muddy path, used for vehicles.
Behind me, in the distance, a tractor slowly rolls across the damp, rich soil. It stops periodically for its driver to hop out and stack wooden bins of fresh picked and bundled tulips onto its freight load.
The tractor is far enough behind me, but I keep looking over my shoulder as I am walking to make sure that I am not in the driver's way should he come close. My attention is also diverted to the groups of people I see in the fields.
As the tractor approaches near me, I raise my camera, "May I take a picture." The man looks at me, without answering. I ask again with a bit of apprehension, hoping that it is ok I have ventured this far into the tulip field, "May I take a photo?" Again, he is paying attention to me, but no reply. I then get the impression that he does not speak English. This time, I say, "Photo?" and pointing to my camera.
He smiles and nods his head "yes."
I snapped several photos of the collection process.
I thank him with a smile and a wave and continue on my walk.
The people in the field are becoming more clear to me now. I now see that these people are working in the tulip fields.
And tulips, children love to stretch
Their fingers down, to feel in each
Its beauty’s secret nearer.
E. B. Browning—A Flower in a Letter.
Mary Lamery is a lifelong resident and native of the Pacific Northwest. Lamery paints regional landscape in a manner that leans towards 19th century French Impressionism. Through her project, "Washington Americana," she will create original landscape paintings from her journeys through Washington for the creation of an art book of painted landscape of Washington State.
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