Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Daffodils

I wrote this last month when the daffodils first started blooming (which they are continuing to do, five weeks later), before I actually began blogging. Thought I would post it now, as my feelings on these floral wonders remain unchanged.

I have always loved daffodils.

Growing up in the Midwest, daffodils were synonymous with the onset of spring. The only thing in our yard that bloomed ahead of the daffodils was the crocuses. But they are a much smaller flower and were planted in a rather obscure area of our yard so that you had to look for them and would most certainly miss them altogether if you didn’t.

Not so with the daffodils.

There was a great sea of them planted in our side yard and when they were in full bloom, they were most impossible to miss. My siblings and I always looked forward to the blooming of the daffodils and would generally race to pick some to bring inside as soon as very many were in bloom. My mother loves daffodils as much as we do, and was always delighted to have one, or often more, vases full in the house for a few days. By the time the daffodils had come and gone, the rest of the flowers in the yard had started to sprout and bloom, but there was still always a little sadness in realizing that the daffodils were gone until the next spring.

Nowadays, daffodils conjure sadness within for a very different reason. They are still the first flower of spring in our yard, but in the Southeast they bloom a full month earlier than they do in the Midwest.

I wish like everything that they did not.

For now, in addition to reminding me that spring is fast approaching, they also remind me that my wife is not going to be here to see it and share it with my daughter and me. She always loved the flowers in our yard, and I planted them everywhere I could while she was living.

Daffodils were no exception.

We have our own sea of them next to the driveway and a few other clusters in different beds throughout the landscape. So now when I arrive home, I am hit with a sea of daffodils planted to bring happiness, now bringing mostly sadness. When I approach the front steps - another small reminder. When I take the dog out the back door – more reminders still. I do not pick them and put them in a vase any more. The reminders outdoors are enough for now without bringing the torment inside. I fear having a vase on the table would only serve to take me back two years, to a house full of everyone I love but her, when another vase of yellow sat there. It would simply be too painful.

There’s still a part of me that loves daffodils. But now I hate them too.

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