It’s tulip time –  perhaps in the temperate Skagit Valley of Washington, or in the states to the south of me.  But in Minnesota the ground has just thawed and there hasn’t been enough warmth for any bulbs to force through the still cool soil.  Yet with the help of a nearby florist, we can enjoy the scents and colors of the spring to come.  These tulips have brightened my world every day this past week and given me the promise of spring – perhaps just around the corner.

Spring daffs and tulips 12834_StaatsFinally!  The colors of spring have returned to our Minnesota landscape.  The white of winter gave way to the brown, prior to the green of spring.  And now the flowers have burst into bloom, adding their yellows and pinks.  Not only has the landscape brightened, but peoples’ moods have been buoyed by the bright colors too.  A bed of daffodils was showcased in front of a showy field of tulips — the best of spring all in one spot, and all blooming at the same time.  When I was a child, we would make “baskets” out of colored construction paper, put flowers in them, and hang them on the doors of our neighbors to celebrate May Day.  I’m intending this post as the present-day equivalent to my readers.  Happy May and spring!

Spring tulips aglow 12770_StaatsIn my longing for the colors of spring, I wandered into the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  My spirits rose as I took in the colors and smells of our long-awaited season of spring – an array of lilies, tulips, ranunculus, and daffodils.  Flowers the colors of the sun — the light of spring that we crave so much after the cold and white of winter.  From underneath these tulips the light from above made them glow and shimmer – an ephemeral hint at their fragility and short-lived life in the transition between winter and summer.

A tulip presence 9170_StaatsThe in-between season of spring — when we hope for the colors that were vacant in winter.  Spring in Minnesota is volatile, swinging from snow to rain to warm to cold.  We’ve experienced it all this past week, but we also know that spring will prevail and color will return.  I was craving some of that color and resorted to store-bought tulips (since the ones in the ground are barely one-inch shoots right now).  Every time I walked by the tulips I was reminded that spring will come, that warmth is around the corner, and that the Easter tradition of hope remains a part of us.

Yellow tulips_StaatsSpring has been hard-to-come-by in Minnesota.  Although we’ve had some warmer temperatures they seem to be interrupted with cold fronts and more snow.  Desperate for spring, I decided that even store-bought color would count.  Yellow and green are the colors that represent the hope and promise of spring, and these lovely yellow tulips were calling to me at the store.  With some sunshine and temps in the 40’s, I took my spring bouquet outside to photograph.  A little bit of filtered sunshine seemed to bring them to life.  What you don’t see in this image  is the white snow that still covers the ground in places.  But I can look at this image and focus on the promise of spring to come.

Tulip sprouts 7D_1364 _StaatsOur spring has been delayed.  Repeatedly.  Yet just when we’d survived two snowfalls in the past week, the temperature surged above 60 degrees for the first time since last November.  And then it topped 70 degrees, creating a mass exodus of everyone to the outdoors.  The switch had been flipped and it gave us the sunshine and warmth we were all craving.  I spent yesterday working in the yard and flower beds, removing the covering of marsh grass we had laid down last fall.  And much to my surprise I found tulips;  here they stood as a testament to surviving our cold and long winter, reaching up about two inches through the recently thawed topsoil.  The emerging stalks were multi-colored with shades of green, brown, and even a deep purple.  How simple and yet how resilient, and so representative of spring.

If the calendar is turning to the end of August, it must be state fair time in Minnesota.  Affectionately known as the “Great Minnesota Get Together” the fair begins this Thursday, August 23rd, and runs through Labor Day, September 3rd.  One of the showcases each year is the fine art exhibition — a juried competition of Minnesota artists.  Last year 361 art pieces were accepted into the final exhibit, selected from over 2,500 works.  I’m happy to say that my submission for this year has been accepted into the exhibit.  My photograph is titled “Rain on my tulip window.”  If you’re planning to attend the state fair, be sure to enjoy the Fine Art exhibition.  You’ll have the opportunity to see a collection of wide-ranging art by some of the very best Minnesota artists.