"Never forget that the subject is as important as your feeling; the mud puddle itself is as important as your pleasure in looking at it or splashing through it. Never let the mud puddle get lost in the poetry--because, in many ways, the mud puddle is the poetry." --Valerie Worth
This is the quote I used last year when I wrote about our trip to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, and I loved it all over again when I read it again tonight. However, it wouldn't completely describe our trip to the tulip fields this year because wouldn't you know it? Not a spot of mud amongst the tulips this year. In terms of weather, it was absolutely perfect. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. In terms of company...well, that was even better. Sarah and her two girls; me and my two girls. Never a dull moment when you get four little cousins together.
When it comes to springtime traditions, I think this is one of my favorites. This is the third year that we have taken the girls to the tulips. The first year, they were just barely walking, and it was all we could do to get them to stand by a tulip without falling down. The next year, we marveled at how quickly they were dashing between the rows of tulips and splashing in mud puddles.
I will say that in a year they have developed considerably more speed. Also, they seemed to have developed a bit more sassiness. It was perhaps a rough start when we all got together at first, but Sarah saved the day by with bananas and famous chocolate chip cookies. Smiles from there on out, even from me who has still a few more days to go before there shall be any chocolate chip consumption. I was thankful for my bit of banana though.
The trouble with the tulip fields is that every angle is an amazing photo op. Here are the girls running down a row of tulips, now they're on the tractor (where even a couple high school girls asked to photograph them), and oh! now they're laughing and holding hands while they smell the flowers. Surrounding it all are thousands and thousands of beautiful tulips stretching into the brilliant horizon. I was the picture of a determined photographer as I hopped between the rows of tulips, calling after Sydney, snapping her picture with the camera in one hand, nursing Julianne as I held her with the other hand. Seriously. Sarah can vouch for that insane moment of multi-tasking. Someone give me an award.
The truth is I had to remind myself at some point to just put the camera down. I don't want to spend so much time trying to capture the beauty, I end up missing it altogether. When we finally wandered away from the fields to the playground area, I remembered that what I really wanted to do was just talk with Sarah about her house plans, about our house plans, about our girls, and the beautiful weather. Certainly, we ended up with some lovely pictures, but the best part was what happened between the photos.
I'd be tempted to leave my camera at home (like I did for our vacation to Seaside), except that next year Jules and Toby will be walking and smelling the tulips and holding hands with each other. I have to get a picture of that. It's a tradition, you know.
So I'll bring my camera, but I'll remember to eventually put it away. Because as the quote above perfectly illustrates: I don't want life to get lost in the photo. I want to live it, and remember it with a different kind of lens.