This place is seriously enchanted.
My mom often reminds me that beauty, the most refreshing instants of life, can be stored up.
When those times of routine and boredom and monotony seem to fill your days, that’s when you bring back the refreshing times. Remembering these is a form of renewal, enjoying the beauty in a fresh way, in light of new circumstances.
The idea is similar to Wordsworth’s spots of time, moments that seem significant and monumental, that, coming back to, you appreciate in a new way.
Two weeks ago, we visited the Keukenhof Gardens outside of Amsterdam, a veritable living museum of quirky tulip varieties and lawns loaded with flowers, watched over by windmills and canals and boats bursting with blooms.
Open only 2 months of the year, this annual tradition in the Netherlands serves as a display for many famous growers whose bulbs are exported worldwide.
Visiting this place of complete freshness and beauty will always be stored in my mind as a time of peace, a time when the most earthy things stood, quiet and straight, in the late afternoon light. They couldn’t be more lovely if they tried. And it reminds me about worry. Do not worry. Not even the wealthiest king can make himself look as good as these. Every petal was clean, fresh, velvety, and every cluster spaced like a carpet.
I’m no gardener (yet!), no flower expert, and surely didn’t appreciate this magical world as it should’ve been, but I can tell you this: it was a fairyland. It is stored in my file of ‘spots of time’ along with my first golf course walk with Walker, my first time flying in over the United Kingdom, and sitting on the cliffs in Maine.
We were greeted by a calliope and girls in wooden shoes and lacy aprons, as all good Holland tourism requires. But when we stepped into the gardens, I was transfixed.
The tulip, with its light green essence of a simple stem and a head too heavy with color to hold itself up—the tulip is my favorite flower. Planted in layers, combinations with other flowers, and variegated patches, they were completely lovely.
The idea of a plant, a flower, made for nothing except delight, for no utility, is amazing. But, there we were in the middle of 7 million bulbs whose sole purpose was to reveal beauty. They are transient, a quick blossoming, and then the taken away, gone forever.
They always enact their purpose: pure beauty.
Keukenhof, with its fountains,
its ziplines and cute little houses and amusing displays,
and its windmill has been stored.
It was a spectacular space, and definitely one of my top three days on this Europe trip.
Someday I will wake up and wonder if visiting this place was a dream, these shapes of living colour, this extraordinary display of beauty.
On 'partly cloudy' days like today (pretty sure that means 'completely cloudy'), it's refreshed me again.