rebel streak

SO SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE, PEOPLE! Pardon me for yelling, but I’m excited. Truly excited. Even though it’s only May 8, which is not technically summer. And even though spring lasted, like, five minutes or something. BUT I’M NOT COMPLAINING. Even though I’m complaining. I AM SERIOUSLY NOT COMPLAINING. After a winter that lasted, hrrrrrm, eight years or so, I am so traumatized by cold and so distrustful of the warmth that I still haven’t removed the snow shovel from the porch. Still!

Summer. Ahhhh. And Mother’s Day around the bend! I love it. In Albany that means the annual Tulip Festival and all those bulbous, buxom lily relatives that pop out overnight in Washington Park for a sweet breath or two before losing their heads and standing there, sad and decapitated, in the encroaching heat of June.

The other day, I visited the park with my old friend Steve and his mom Karen, a new friend whom I seem to have known forever. We strolled past beds of tulips named Oxford and Ice Cream and Sensual Touch, their silken blooms exploding in yellows and purples and reds that sang for attention. And as we walked, they took on noisy and vivid personalities — like cheerleaders in short skirts and brightly colored pom-poms. Some were perky. Some, clad in lace-trimmed petals, looked crisp and Victorian. Others seemed a little tawdry and déclassé in their overexposed bordello-orange. A few, overshadowed by taller rivals, looked slightly defeated. Others were YELLING SO LOUDLY THEY RISKED GETTING HOARSE. Like me, above.

But one tiny rebel yelled the loudest. In a crowd of purply-and-white-striped classics with graceful, pointed crowns, a single, defiant flower stood out with a mutant yellow streak that howled: I AM HERE! I AM DIFFERENT! I AM PROUD! It was so bold, so brave, so beautiful on its scape in a stand of two-tone brethren, I felt a shiver of awe in its presence. GO, LITTLE TULIP!, I wanted to shout but didn’t, mainly because my friends were nearby, and so were lots of tulip-strolling strangers, and anyway, I’m not THAT weird. Almost. But not quite.

Then again, maybe I should have — in the spirit of rebel tulips everywhere. All of us have a brightly mutinous mutant streak somewhere within us, don’t we? It’s the bold stripe of rebellion that makes us different, letting us sing in a voice that carries beyond the chorus. I AM TULIP! HEAR ME ROAR! And while we’re at it, let’s shout this, too: THANK GOD WINTER IS FINALLY OVER.

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