Monday, May 2, 2011

tulip mania

here's the peculiar thing about tulips: they remind me of the netherlands.  okay, so they remind lots of people of the netherlands.  nothing strange there.

except that the netherlands i know and love--and live in 3 months a year--isn't especially partial to tulips.  they like them all right; they like most flowers.  but where i live when i'm there is in the south, in the province of Limburg.  and it wasn't limburg where the great tulip craze of the 17th century took place.  that was up north, in the province of holland, a very different place than Limburg.  holland is fine, but i don't get there a lot. so when spring comes to  the southern part of nederland, it brings flowers galore, and you see tulips around, as you do here in boston.  you just don't see them especially.

but everyone thinks they do, because, after all, this is 'holland.' [  most southern dutch people seem to have given up arguing that they're not in holland].  students who arrive with me in january ask when the tulips bloom.  they expect the castle to be surrounded with tulips.  even when it isn't, they expect it.  people at home ask me how the tulips were.  they look puzzled when i say i haven't seen that many.

then when i get home, i see tulips all over the place.  they're gorgeous.  and they make me long to be back in holland.

only i rarely see holland.  and i see more tulips here than i do in the netherlands.  the first time i teared up at the sight of tulips in boston, i thought i was going crazy.  but i've finally figured it out.  tulips remind me of all the people who expect tulips all over the netherlands. and that reminds me of the netherlands and of my life there 3 months a year.  and that's why i love tulips and why i think of holland when i see them....

5 comments:

Baysage said...

I envy your living in The Netherlands 3 months of the year. We lived in Europe for 3 years and loved to visit there. It's a society I found very congenial.

karen lindsey said...

i love it, and i can never, after 20-odd years, believe my luck. [sadly, their politics seem to be going in the direction of america-lite.]

where in europe did you live?

Baysage said...

Their politics becoming more American is not good news. Not at all. I suppose it's the immigrant/Muslim thing that's bedeviling all of Europe.

From 1989-92 we lived in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz in southwest Germany. Wine country. It was lovely, and were it not for family here, I could have easily stayed there. That was when I was working as a historian for the Air Force.

karen lindsey said...

working as an historian sounds wonderful! and in a lovely european site.

yes, it's exactly the muslim/immigrant business, though i suppose the economy doesn't help. my dutch friends say, of their much-heralded tolerance, that that's part of the problem--it's tolerance, not acceptance, and you tolerate things only when they don't get in your way. the right grows stronger every year.

Baysage said...

Actually, working in the Dept of Defense was counter to everything I believe, but academic jobs were scarce and I had two kids when I got out of grad school. It was a job. I never liked the military environment either when I was actually in it or later working in it. However, I will say there were hundreds of ways of making a living that were ten times worse, so there you are.