While I wander around the world most of the year, I still return home to the U.S. often to see family (and Brinkley, of course!) often. A couple of years ago, my cousin introduced me to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and it’s only 40 minutes away from where I grew up. I’m still wondering how I could have missed it all these years. The full story will appear in another blog post, but here are the Waterlogues from recent sunrise visit to Grinter Farms in Lawrence, Kansas.
Usually when people hear I’m from Kansas City, they drop the “City” and talk about “Kansas” from then on. If you’re from the area, you know exactly why this is frustrating. Kansas has some antiquated laws and rampant sentiment that I do not agree with or care to be associated with. I guess the addition of “City” implies a certain level of progressive thinking that I prefer to be associated with. However, back in 2014, my hometown fellow adventurer introduced me to a Kansas wonder, a destination I had never heard of before that played a major role in changing my view on the State. When we finally had our excursion to the not-so-far-away glorious fields of sunflowers she had recently learned about, my feelings about the Sunflower State softened.
I had no idea what to expect during our first visit there, all I knew was that we were heading for sunflower fields. We went to Grinter Farms one mid-afternoon on a late summer day, so the sun shone bright on the acres and acres of sunflowers. The scene was not lost on me, however, with the tens of thousands of sunflowers standing in salute to the sun. I was now in awe of Kansas’ beauty.
And this is only a few acres of it…
In 2015, my fellow adventurer and I watched the Grinter Farms Facebook page closely and made our trek out west 😉 once we were confident the flowers were close to blooming / in bloom. I, myself, about to return to Paris, was on a bit of a time crunch. My departure in a few days meant that I had only a small window of time to see the sunflowers in bloom. Sadly, when we arrived where we had frolicked a year before among the yellow beauties, there was nothing but an empty field. We saw no signs to lead us elsewhere, so we just called it a loss and headed home. Not a week later, after I had returned to Europe, my sunflower buddy sent me a photo of the beautiful farm in full bloom. We had been around the corner (in farm distance) from where she eventually found the flowers. Turns out they use different fields from time to time. If only we had known!
This year was different, though. For months, I checked in on the sunflower fields. As the fields have become more and more of an attraction for people all across the Midwest, it seems details of the “bloom report” have become more specific. In July, I noticed they had only just planted the sunflower seeds. This worried me, as I could imagine myself faced with the same issue I had worried about in 2015: a year without an awe-striking sunflower field view.
Well, who knew such enormous plants could grow so much in two months time?! By early September, the report was that the flowers were nearly due to bloom. This year I was not going to miss it!
I made two trips within a few days, once at sunset with my mom and then a few days later at sunrise by myself. Not surprisingly, there were very few people there when I arrived at 6:30 am. For about half an hour, it was just me, by bicycle, and a few people with a drone. Yes, you read that correctly… I took my bike with me! What would make for a more charming photo than an adorable prop amongst the flowers?
I just loved wandering around and through the 40 acres of sunflowers. Beauty like that requires a lot of stopping and staring. How else can you fully comprehend you’re in the presence of such beauty? Eventually, I took my bike around the Farm to shoot it in different settings. The sun came up quickly, so I had to work quickly. And even though the fields seem to go on forever, I did my best to stay where the now-large influx of visitors was not yet. (If you know my photography, you know how infrequently I have people in my shots.)
When I was taking one of my last photos of the morning, I rolled my bike out of the field (no flowers were trampled in the process!), and as I was nearing the edge, I saw a beautiful shot behind me. I parked my bike to get the shot, then realized it was even better with the bike in the foreground. You may have seen this image elsewhere, since a few passers-by thought it was cute enough to shoot as well. As I’m sure you photographers know, it can be very frustrating when a person “steals” your shot (especially right in front of you!), but I didn’t say anything… I was too busy appreciating the view. 🌻🌻🌻
A special thanks to the owners and farmers at Grinter Farms, who generously allow their property to become a literal stomping ground for at least a couple of weeks a year. The donations we leave in the boxes around the property are but a token of my great appreciation for sharing Nature’s beauty with a larger audience.
For your Waterlogue Wednesday today, I am sharing a few photos that I shared on Instagram this week. I have had fragrant flowers on my mind and am suddenly eager to go cycle around Dutch canals once again. I love enjoying some amaryllis and hyacinths in January, so I had to share some bundles I spotted at a Dutch bloemenmarkt one time. The last photo was taken in the Spring of 2014 in Utrecht with my friend Merrit, who lives there. We met thanks to Instagram.
Many more Springy photos to come, but they’ll probably return in a couple of months…
Once upon a time, I lived on this block. In fact, in May 2013, I arrived loaded down with luggage at 8 rue de la Grange aux Belles, that red door at the far right of the photo. I had been to the 10th arrondissement plenty of times before, but committing to living there wasn’t easy for me. My experience with the 10th was that it is run down and rather uninteresting, despite the lovely (albeit green-tinted) Canal Saint Martin that runs through part of it. Nevertheless, I signed the paperwork and took the plunge to live there, my to-be landlord assuring me with the help of this document that the neighborhood’s Bohemian crowds and new boutiques popping up, that his neighborhood is the new “it” quartier. The unwelcoming paint-chipped decrepit door and grungy tabac and bar just steps away notwithstanding, he was right… our neighborhood, and even most of our immediate neighbors were nothing short of charming. This area represented a Paris I did not really know yet and was suddenly eager to discover.
Still, there are improvements to be made here and there in the neighborhood. I always appreciated the beautiful florist Bleuet Coquelicot and how they literally spread the beauty up and down the block. What’s not to love about a row of colorful façades and plant-filled pots lining the street? It gives people reason to sit outside the neighboring establishments on even the grayest of days.
In continuing with the beautiful tulip fields of a couple of days ago, here are a few more pics from our journey through the fields of Lisse and surrounding towns. I’m so glad we didn’t go a day later than we did. The farmers were busy all over the area with theirs tractors removing the flowers. Though there is something really beautiful about flowers petals scattered about and the beautiful intense colors rows that they produce. Next year I will go earlier to see more of the flowers in full bloom.
It wouldn’t be Spring in Holland without a trip to the tulips fields this country is so well known for. I went in April with my friend who had come to town from Paris just for this spectacle. We hopped a bus from the airport then immediately rented bikes and headed for the fields. When you’ve seen so many photos for so long with all these fields, you tend to think they’re all in one place, together. In reality, it takes some navigating around a several-kilometer area, which is a very pleasant ride since the bike paths are so well-marked and safe. When my friend saw that the North Sea was not too far away, we decided it would be fun to make it part of our tour. What fun it was to get caught in the rain and sun among this beauty.
I didn’t go to Jardin des Plantes for the first couple of years I lived in Paris; it just wasn’t on my radar at all. One Spring a few years ago, I went there with my boyfriend only to come across the most beautiful display of Springtime glory I have ever seen. While it may sound hyperbolic to make such a claim, I would invite and encourage you to make a point to be in Paris for early to mid-Spring some year to see what I’m talking about. Paris has flowering trees all across the city, and timing is of course key when it comes to these things – especially if you wish to see the magnolia trees, which bloom early on and for a short period of time.
When I got there, I was somewhat relieved to see that the tree was not yet in bloom, but the buds were showing signs of soon being ready to burst open. There is something truly magical about seeing nature in its rebirth stage; for me it’s the most wonderful season as it welcomes us to contemplate the power that brings us all life. Naturally, being intrigued with this state of being, I shot lots of bud photos. Enjoy!