Flying periodically between Southern California and Washington, I constantly look down with awe and wonder. I love a good view, and window seat delivers well. Then, comes two usual questions as I stare down; where am I, and what is that?
I often notice these large man-made circles upon rural flat farmlands of the western U.S. These circles are large and many, very even, and filled with variances of light-dark earthy tones, often adjacent to each other. In clusters, the perfect geometric shapes are wonderous to behold, unreal as part of some gigantic artwork in the grand museum that is our modern world. Or if I imagine hard enough, a surreal game of Connect 4 played by giants.
I learned these man-made wonders are actually center-pivot irrigation circles, where farmland is watered in rotation from a rotating sprinkler anchored at the center. This supposedly cuts down on labor costs and remains an alternative to ground irrigation. I can’t say I understand much more. Irrigation is a complex subject with debates on what is best and the future for our world challenged with climate change and continuous droughts. But, seeing the patterns from above, I see the impact humans have upon the very landscape, where they are microscopic in comparison. Our impact for better or worse, is its own unintended art.
A few days ago, me and local friends ventured out north in the Washington state to the rural area of Skagit Valley by Mount Vernon, to check out its annual Tulip Festival. This wonderful time throughout April is when the tulip farms are at their colorful peak, growing miles of freshly blooms tulips and daffodils. Designated areas for up close viewing are open to the public, with a small admission charge
For the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival of 2018, there are multiple areas to visit and check out, as I entered the Roozengaarde Display Garden and Fields. Stunning place it is, even with the gray weather and muddy grounds (rained hard the day before). I admired and learned much of the tulip life and care that goes into them. I also took some pictures, of which the fields are shared below (click on each to fully appreciate):
The festival time goes on until the end of the month. The tourism on the weekend can be a bit heavy, especially if the rain is gone and the sun is shining. So, be ready for a slow drive when close and lines at the entrance and foot court. It’s all well worth it with friends and family.