|Dutch Lawn and Delft Blue|
As we were hurtling across the Atlantic, leaving behind the end of crocus season and the ebullient present of daffodils, along with tulip buds full of promise; dreams of swaths of brilliant tulip color came to mind. Even the cool and drizzly forecast did not dim the anticipation.
But, as is true for every trip I've ever taken, there were surprises awaiting.
In Amsterdam we were lodging just adjacent to a large park teeming with life: vegetative, avian and human. As soon as possible, we joined the crowd, carefully avoiding being overrun by exuberant cyclists. There were any number of possibilities for wandering and all of them were inviting with their verdant offerings. Taking the most obvious road (not the one less-traveled) I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of what I knew must be a Dutch Lawn. This is a generous planting of crocuses within a grassy lawn. I had read about it in a flower catalog and David obliged me by planting the collection of bulbs in our front yard. It is a real thing and on display throughout the park and beyond. I wasn't the only one who enjoyed this special lawn, a pair of Egyptian geese (though they looked more like ducks) and their goslings/ducklings seemed to be in residence. After this first sighting, we saw many more Egyptian geese couples on our stay. Clearly, this species has become naturalized like a bag full of daffodil bulbs. What we did not see was a brilliant display of tulip color. We were too early for that.
There were inviting bodies of water throughout the park, lovely for fowl, flora and human wayfarers. Graceful willows swayed by the edges of ponds along with clouds of daffodils. The ponds were linked together in a similar manner to the roads and paths creating linked habitats. I kept seeing delicate deep violet flowers that David has planted at home. The scene makes me feel that our ancestry stays with us and influences our sensibilities and aesthetic choices for centuries. On the way to Amsterdam, we had stopped at the ancestral home of the Johnsons or Jansens and it looked like David!
While some of the first greens (the meaning of primavera)
of the Netherlands were behind our first greens in Kentucky; other living beings quite at home in the Dutch landscape would be struggling for survival on my home turf. There were palm trees along the North Sea coastline, an unlikely pairing to me. In the park, I noticed birds with extremely long, narrow tails. The call of these creatures was loud, like a slow, imperative, cricket chirp. I was very curious about this bird. At supper, our daughter and son-in-law exclaimed over the abundance of green parakeets in the park. The next day, I was able to get a photo of the birds and realized that the long, narrow tail indeed belongs to the green parakeet. Apparently, the birds had been pets released into the park, where they have thrived. They made for a rather boisterous community.
|Green parakeets in Vondelpark, Amsterdam|
It was a curious mix and yet a definitive setting. I appreciate the chance to be situated in a new-to-me place. Some things are the same (daffodils, crocuses). Some things are different (palm trees, green parakeets). Some things are familiar because David's people brought them over and they are now part of my life, like the tulips that David plants every year.
What an interesting world, where people and flora and fauna adapt! And yet, the local soil, air movement and culture will have its way. Some things we can change and affect. Others we cannot. What a joy to experience a new place, to be curious and to learn.
And what a joy to come home with new insights and appreciations; to see where we have gained from an older culture and to see how a future culture can thrive as well.
|David's tulips at home|