For many years I have admired those Dutch postcards, featuring multicolored tulips at peak season. This year I decided to shoot some myself, and spent three days (April 22-24) in the fields and gardens surrounding Lisse, south-west of Amsterdam.
The result comprises three galleries, each representing a different way (and day) of viewing the tulips. The first gallery captures a swift tour of the fields by car. The second gallery summarizes a six-hour exploration, on foot, of the Koekenhof, which bills itself as "the most beautiful spring garden in the world." It lives up to the billing. The third gallery revisits the fields by bicycle, leisurely wending its way on and off the map.
A word about the light. The weather itself was unbelievable: three days of tranquil cloudless sky and brilliant sunshine. I have it on good authority that such flawless conditions over Easter weekend had not been seen in Holland since the twelfth century.
In consequence, do not expect billowing Dutch clouds sailing on stiff breezes. Do expect tulips in all their glory, lit up by pure bright light. The colors are real, not enhanced. In the process, my brain was bombarded by so many photons that one of my crowns shook loose on the third night. So hang onto your teeth as you enjoy the show.
Finally, a philosophical moral: Lao Tzu sagely warned that we should not rejoice in the slaughter of men (not even of murderous ones). Those who delight in the slaughter of men, he said, cannot long have their wills done in the world. By contrast, we should always rejoice in the beauty of nature. And by implication, those who delight in nature's beauty can lastingly have their wills done in the world.
The tulips are magnificent to behold, and their harvest is bloodless. We can all learn something from this.