Tuesday, March 23, 2010

bloomin' daffs

i love daffodils.
they just shout spring to me.

image from wickimedia.org

i wrote this during the spring of 2006, my first spring in dc.
it still rings true.

This evening I was looking up through a lacy web of lightest pink petals at the deepening sky as it turned from grayish blue to deep indigo, when it dawned on me--Spring is here. It's really here.

Then there was a beautiful cherry tree in someone's yard, all decked out in white blossoms with deepest pink hearts in the center with fairy lights strung through the tree, lighting up the blossoms with a golden glow and giving the illusion of stars. It was magic! It took my breath away for a moment and reminded me of spring back home.

One really cold autumn Saturday, my father and I planted about two hundred daffodil bulbs in our fruit orchard. It was so cold.  My hands were numb and aching, but I was already envisioning the explosion of color that would happen when the snow started melting and the sun started warming the ground. Then I promptly forgot about all the hard work.

Spring was slow in arriving the next year. Just when we thought it might start warming up, the mercury would dip and several more inches of snow would appear overnight. One morning on my way to school, I noticed green poking up through a thin layer of snow that stuck stubbornly to the ground. I looked closer and noticed it wasn't grass, but the broader green leaves of spring's trumpet section.

A few days later, sunshine appeared under the fruit trees on the side of our hill. An explosion of yellow trumpeted the arrival of spring. For several weeks the flowers announced the arrival of spring, even during a freak snow flurry that dumped six inches of snow overnight. It was quite a sight to see bright yellow flowers poking up through the snow, confirming that indeed spring was still here.

So, forget the groundhog and forget the weatherman, who think they know it all. I know spring is here when the daffodils start to bloom. They are my springtime therapy. When I was homesick in England, the 'bloomin' daffs' warmed my heart and eased the distance by giving me a piece of home so far away.
In the words of Wordsworth:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffoldils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

"Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

"The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
 In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."
(The Daffodils, by William Wordsworth)

My heart thrills at the memory of daffodils at home in Paradise, in the Lake District of England, and now at the new memory of fairy lights twinkling in a beautiful cherry tree blossoming in DC--my new home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
next week is the national cherry blossom festival in dc.
another sign that spring has sprung

image from wickimedia.org


Anonymous said...

I remember that Saturday too. I always had fun working with you and the other kids. Those "daffs" we planted have brought joy to me each spring also. Thanks for reminding me of that cold Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I remember it also. It wasn't just you planting them also. I really love daffs and tulips. I've got some coming up at my house. Tulips that is, I haven't got any daffs yet.

Becky said...

I remember that day also. It wasn't just you planting them that day. I also love the daffodils and tulips. I've got some comeing up at my house. That is tulips I haven't yet got any daffodils. Maybe this autumn.

Anonymous said...

What a joy those daffodils have been. There was always plenty to let you kids bring into the house or take visiting teaching to Sister Newbrand. So bright and cheerful. Remember when Dad got the different ones to add to those to naturalize. White and white with yellow centers. Beautiful. That's what I remember about the tour through the Lake District in that little red car. Thanks again. Love Mom