Sunshine Produces Moments of Solace, Reflection

Everyone wants to feel warm rays on their neck, their shadow chasing them as the first signs of springtime sunshine chases winter’s last cool blasts from the air. Here in Boston, we’re relishing that feeling with more zeal than ever. After the tragic Boston Marathon bombings—which I have written about in Community News & Views this month—it’s important to focus on the good that comes after the cold.

Walking through Boston Common—one of the city's greenest and largest parks—the first pop of spring color against the gloom brings a smile to my face, because the earliest of flowers, tulips, always triggers thoughts of Holland and Belgium. As simple as these blossoms may seem, each one has been engineered by centuries of history. And planting them requires months, sometimes years of advance planning, as the bulbs must be bred and then put into the earth in the fall, a mini time capsule of sorts. Much like Amsterdam’s remarkable canals (which celebrate their 400th anniversary this year), tulips in themselves are also remarkable feats, taking years of scientific ingenuity to cultivate breeds and to farm the land for the expressed purpose of beauty only. Who wouldn’t want to visit such a place? That’s just another reason why I’m so excited that spring is finally here. Some of our most popular Grand Circle cruises are now departing—plus we’ve also just launched departures for 2014. It’s a wonderful season for planting and planning.

I’d love to hear about your hobbies and interests, particularly as you’ve been inspired on Grand Circle vacations. Are you a gardener or painter, or did you discover some hidden talent on one of our trips? Share your story with me at, or share your thoughts in the comments.