There was rain again last night. Leaving the day full of sunshine and blue sky it waited until early evening to start. This morning it was clear and beautiful again with the gentle summer temperature the Northwest is famous for. We took a little drive up North to the Skagit Valley today. It is definitely one of my most treasured places to visit. I feel incredibly fortunate to live close enough for an easy drive through some lovely back roads that wind around McMurry Lake. That name of course always triggers my memory of the old TV show My Three Sons with Fred McMurry and the opening credits with the cartoon shoes. I just can’t seem to edit it out of my head. It doesn’t take away from the beauty of the lake but it does add a little humor to it.
Skagit Valley, Washington is one of the most fertile spots around. In the spring it is bursting in techno color with fields of vibrant and richly colored tulips along with bright sunny daffodils. Painters and photographers follow the field hands as they harvest the colorful rows. Tourists swarm the roads and fields, the clicking of so many cameras creating a buzzing sound as memory cards are filled with abandon.
In summer the fields come alive with all manner of crops to many to number. Grape and berry vineyards mingle with corn and potatoes, alfalfa and brussel sprouts. Fresh seafood is sold from wooden shacks and vans along the roadside and it is actually fresh seafood since the valley blends right into the bay at La Conner. The wonderful little town of La Conner is an entirely different post all together.
In early fall trucks with wooden slatted sides make camp along the edges of the farms to sell their harvest. Loyal patrons eagerly fill their bags with "Sweet corn, five for a dollar." My favorite spot sells roasted corn and hot dogs with a soda on the side. Driving through the back roads at this time is my favorite because of the wonderful farm houses that glow with fires in the hearth and the scent of hot cider mingling with burning leaves in the crisp autumn air.
With winter the valley is full of the most amazing array of birds you have ever seen. Snow geese descend like a blanket of snow on the fields and fill the sky like a blizzard. Great blue herons and bald eagles are so plentiful they are pests. Harriers, hawks, owls, and so many other species of birds I could never name them all reside in or migrate through the valley. There are designated viewing areas where you can actually find yourself swept up in a swarm of birds as they gather and swirl lifting up into the air making your heart race and your head swim with the excitement.
I love this little valley with its fertile land and collapsing barns. I love the commerce it produces and the families that make it work. I love the smell of the soil and the warm sweet aroma of hay. Ok, the cows can be a bit pungent but that’s what automatic windows are for.
There is something that sinks deeper than words can illuminate about a land that is teaming with life. It is something that reverberates deep within the soul and stirs the very DNA of you. On the surface it may appear to be lacking the vibrancy and urgent energy of the city but on closer inspection it is quite the opposite. A fertile land teaming with life is a cauldron of activity. There is incredible energy and activity creating entire universes within those little green sleeves. If you can consider string theory in physics for a moment you’d be amazed at the incredible amount of vibrating of energy that surrounds us all in a living and breathing environment. If you listen close enough I think you can actually hear the corn growing.