A few years ago now we purchased a home where a prior owner had planted a varied assortment of daffodils. These clusters of bulbs gave growth to shoots of green in the early to middle weeks of February, about the time of our move in. In the ensuing days we would delight in watching how they bloomed, and their varied displays of spring color. We discovered traditional yellow daffodils, some with a white outer bloom and yellow, almost orange, center; and still more that were miniature versions of the aforementioned traditional yellows. Clusters of these flowers came forth among the landscaped beds that bordered the back, side and front lawns. Some clusters even emerged amidst the lawn. There was no mistaking the fact that the one who had planted them loved her daffodils.
That first spring of our occupancy happened to coincide with the global pandemic of 2020, which gave the daffodil show even more meaning in my book. While the world was trying to come to grips with what the pandemic meant, embracing lockdowns and quarantines, our lawn was virtually bursting forth with brilliant color. It was a not-so-subtle message of hope amidst the news of despair that continued to bombard us.
This now is the third spring since, and once again the daffodils are doing their thing. They got off to an early start as warmer weather prompted their cycle of growth this year. Shoots were emerging in January, with first blooms coming mid to late February, or sooner if in a protected pocket where the warmth of the sun coaxed them forth. I’ve transplanted most of the lawn bulbs back into the landscaping with mixed results. All have come up, but some seem to protest their relocation by refusing to bloom. Still, overall we’ve had a customary show of yellow, white and orange dazzle against the backdrop of a greening lawn and the beige of mulched flowerbeds.
Then, over the past few days, as is typical during an Indiana March, a cold snap has hit. The immediate impact on the daffodil blooms was an obvious shock that found them with lowered foliage, and drooping heads. A few flakes of snow rested on the blooms, with more covering the surrounding lawn. Had our hopeful friends misjudged the timing of their show? Would they now succumb to an early end?
Sadly, some – those in the less protected pockets of exposure – seem worse for wear. Yet, others purposefully bounce back as the sun rises higher and warms their faces. They once again display their resilience as an early spring flower, combating the less than friendly environs of their stage. They will not be silent nor allow their contribution to this change in season to be easily thwarted. Once again, they speak hope into the world for those who will pause long enough to notice.
Hope is a message of near constant need for the human condition. Hope assuages the uglier messages of despair and doom of which our ears and eyes more often partake. I wonder, as I contemplate this year’s daffodil show in our lawn if daffodils bloom in Ukraine? I wonder if they adorn the table tops and bedsides of those who’ve suffered loss, as they often adorn our dining room table? They are for me a symbol of the need and possibility of persistent hope in the human condition. May their message be seen and heard with regularity!