Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tulip time is happy time

It's tulip time in Ottawa. That usually means tourists driving very slowly (not considering that people actually live here) on the Queen Elizabeth Parkway, bus loads of Japanese tourists, lemonade stands charging $3 a glass, and rainy weather. Of course, it also means loads and loads of beautiful tulips; tulips so overwhelming in their colour that your eyes have trouble processing it and I can never get a photo that really captures how beautiful it is. I'm going to subject you to my feeble attempts nonetheless.

We decided to go down to Dow's Lake last night, the main site of the Tulip Festival, since it was great weather and it seemed we wouldn't really get another chance before I left for Austin (just six more days!). We had an early-ish supper and headed out hoping the crowds and parking wouldn't be too difficult. We were right on both counts.

The tulips were beautiful. The National Capital Commission never fails to impress me with the stunning colours and variety of tulips they plant. The beds look like ocean waves swelling through the park. It is truly amazing every year and probably my favourite festival for its shear beauty (although the Beaver Tails at Winterlude make that festival a contender for top spot).

This year Emily was wowed by the tulips, stopping to sniff each bed, point out the ones we were coming up to, running ahead to get to them first. I love her enthusiasm for life. Going to an event like this is a showcase for that part of her personality and I look forward to it every time we do something special or out of the ordinary. I can't wait for our trip to Austin and her first ride in a big plane since she was a baby. I imagine she won't stop talking for the full five hours it takes to get there.

I took several decent photos but as hard as I tried neither kid would allow me to get a family photo in front of the tulips. In fact, I really don't have any good photos of a parent with these two. It's a pipe dream. This is as good as it got:

Emily however hammed it up a few times for the camera.

One of my favourite little games at the Tulip Festival is to spot the imperfections in the beds: a tulip bulb moved by a squirrel or a few mixed up with the wrong variety. This year was the winner; look at this tulip:

One loan red petal on a yellow tulip. So cool.

And I did find one bed with a few adoptees. These little surprises remind me of Old Order Mennonite quilts. The women who make them purposely place one piece of fabric in the wrong direction or in the wrong place because, they say, that only God can make anything perfect. I really like the beauty you find in things that are considered to be imperfect.

Hope practised her sniffing which I had to capture on video. Do you hear that snort? (Admittedly, it is a little hard to hear.) That is Hope's method of sniffing.

Emily walked the whole time we were there. Hope begged to be carried most of the time. So, Emily and I were both tired at the end but I managed to stay awake on the ride home. I can't say the same for her.


little b said...

I miss spring at home. Tulips don't grow here because the bulbs have a freeze. But that part I don't miss. Can I have spring with out winter?

Shan said...

Wow that looks incredible! Looks like it was a great evening.

Julie said...

the picture of the lone red petal is gorgeous. we were at the festival on saturday but the tulips hadn't peeked yet. we should try and get out there this week. the video of hope is realy cute. i totally heard the snort!