Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

Letting the tulips sing

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Can flowers sing? No way to prove this but recently they sang to me.

Finding new colors

I recently returned from visiting a friend who’s dying of cancer. In leaving, my heart filled with achingly beautiful sounds and the rich melancholy of grieving.

Did grief have a color? Definitely—dark mahogany.

And a sound? Definitely minor. Perhaps B flat minor.

While I don’t run from dark tones, this week I needed some balance and happier notes.

On my way home from visiting my friend, I passed a sign for Washington State’s famous Skaget Valley tulip fields. I’m not usually drawn to these mega-tourist sites, where hundreds of thousands clog the country roads for a sighting of tulips on spring weekends.

But it was a weekday, late in the season, and I needed bright colors.

From the display garden at RoozenGaarde

The fields were past their prime, but the display garden at RoozenGaarde still looked magnificent. I paid the fee and entered, joining visitors from around the world, who were oohing and ahhing in Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Tagalog—among the languages I recognized.

I was swept away by the colors.

The many shades, arranged in broad swathes like waves, picked me up and transported me into a more enchanted world.

Then, as I stared at them, it was as if they were singing in a large chorus. They sang in harmony, of course, and in brilliant major tones.


People who have the gift of synesthesia, in which one sense impression may trigger an impression from a different sense, may see colors in sounds or feel the textures in a word. A work of art may have a smell to them, and a tasty dish may bring a song.

I don’t have that gift, except sometimes when I vocalize and see colors. Even if I lack the powers of synesthesia, I can observe and allow my imagination to play.

So I was very happy to applaud the tulips as they sang, imagining that their song was in a major scale, upbeat, and praise-worthy.

Tell me these tulips aren’t singing!

Saved by the senses

I was being restored by my senses.

On the day I visited, the colors and sounds at this designed-for-tourists spot uplifted me more than words could have.

I won’t say that the ongoing project of supporting my friend is easy, or that all I want in life are upbeat colors coordinated to flow together like drifts.

But the senses, combined with the imagination, can become a healing friend, offering a lush, sensual grounding that can counterbalance the more difficult parts of reality.

Imagining the chorus of tulips cheered me up.

Today, sing to your flowers or the ones that live near you, then let me know what you hear back.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Sally, I love love love this post so much! It’s right up my alley! Sending you and your friend a hug! 🌷🌷🌷

  2. Dear Sally, I too, LOVE your posts – and the unique and touching way you draw out mindful insights with words. I FEEL your words dear friend! I wish you and your friend all the BEST.

    LOVE is KEY!

  3. Dear Sally and Friend, heart songs the color of fuschia cactus blooms are singing to you from the Sonoran desert in Tucson, AZ. May they join the chorus of your heart songs. With love and gratitude, Ellen

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