By Tom Poland
Daffodils. They’re the beautiful blonds of the flower world and if it’s possible for a flower to smile, daffodils do. They bring to mind young women standing together making plans for a party or a trip to the beach where it’s sunny and warm. Daffodils don’t giggle but they would if they could.
During the final days of this cold, wet winter, I spied clumps of green-yellow daffodils clustered near an old oak in bare bones winter dress. That gave me hope in this terrible time we’re been mired to the knees in. Though the grass was dormant brown, the time for rebirth, another chance to get things right was close at hand. What’s that old cliché? “Hope springs eternal?” Well, daffodils spring eternal from Mother Earth when we need them most.
So this time of year, I look for new places where daffodils warm what often is a cold day. I look for old home sites. Often I see fresh vibrant green stems glad to escape the earth and flaunt their colorful heads.
I’d been told that a certain road that led to a certain church sported daffodils here and there in a field. For two years running, I went and saw nothing. Timing is everything. The third time was the charm as another cliché goes. There they were upon a hillside, scattered here and there like so many settlements.
Memories. That’s another reason I love daffodils. No flower brings back memories like daffodils. That’s why I check my old familiar haunts. I check my grandmothers’ homes this time of year, though both homes burned. My paternal grandmother’s house burned a few years back and you can still see the charred timbers, ashes, and twisted iron. The daffodils at my father’s mother’s place? They were there when I was a boy and they’re there still, standing amid charred debris like so many golden harbingers of spring.
The other grandparent’s home burned not quite 60 years ago and nature has long overtaken the grounds. Apparently, my timing there was always a bit off. Until this year I’d never seen daffodils at my mother’s mother’s place, but they’re there.
My mother used the term, “Narcissus,” come daffodil season. My guess is that’s because daffodils belong to the Narcissus family. “Narcissus” comes from the Greek language and means “numbness,” a nod to the bulb’s toxic nature for Narcissus bulbs do indeed contain a toxic substance. I bet squirrels know that.
Now I don’t know if florists can get daffodils from greenhouses year-round or not. If they can, I’m sure some souls would love some daffodils at their last great send-off party. But, if florists can’t get them year-round, then March would be a good time to depart this world.
Now you may think all this talk of escaping the surly bonds of Earth is gloomy talk, but really it’s not. Just think of a thick blanket of smiling daffodils on a dearly departed’s coffin as the pallbearers take them to their final resting place. Why that would be like being covered up in giggling, happy blondes. If you’ve got to go, and you must, go out with the colors of spring upon you.
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