Daffodils in the Snow
It’s been a unusually brutal spring this year – unlike any I can remember. In fact, this spring hasn’t even slightly lived up to its name. Spring is supposed to be a time of rain showers and sun and temperatures climbing from the frosty depths of winter on their way to the hot, humid lazy days of summer.
This morning, I woke up and realized we’ve passed the mid-point of April. Spring is no longer an infant; it’s a young adult but acting like a spoiled-brat twin of winter.
We used to have hyacinths, tulips and daffodils along the fence in my front yard. However, even since the huddled masses of humanity have stripped away the wilderness which once served as a home to the deer population, deer have been eating everything in sight. Everything except daffodils, that is.
My tulips are chewed down to the ground -they’re thick green stalks bitten to raggedy edges. I’m not so sure about the hyacinths, I don’t see them at all this year. The daffodils, usually mid-March bloomers have been biding their time and waiting for some hint of spring more obvious than the gradual lengthening days.
Last week after suffering through the worst weather weekend I’ve ever seen in April I’ve been reluctant to store my winter gear – so my winter coat, gloves, hats and winter walking boots all remain nearby and ready. Every night I walk dressed for winter though the calendar tells me it is spring and has been for the past thirty days.
Cold rain and slushy snow make outdoor activities difficult for anyone sane – but I’ve been out there walking every day… and mumbling about the weather as I walk through the winter wind, sleet, snow and icy rain on my “spring” walks. I don’t know who’s listening to me. It seems petty of me to complain about the weather since I cannot change it and most of us, including me, have more important things to worry about. But being a surly old curmudgeon, I cut myself some slack.
It’s a good idea to cut yourself some slack. If you’re looking for someone else to cut you some slack you’re liable to be waiting a long time. Even longer than I’ve been waiting for spring this year. Much longer. It’s always been a motto of mine to take it easy on myself, even when others don’t.
No one wants to be known as a complainer. Not you. Not me. Not anyone. I take that back. I am pretty sure I’ve met some folks whose life’s purpose seems to be complaining about something – other people, the weather, their health, their family – you know what I mean. But I’m not even sure they would actually want to label themselves complainers. I think most complainers rationalize and call themselves “realists”.
Be that as it may, I for one don’t want others to see me as the cantankerous old grinchy crosspatch that I am. So, when I complain about the awful spring weather that Mother Nature has foisted up on me and my little town, I do it when I’m walking when no one – at least I think – can hear me.
Grumble… grumble… grumble.
You know what? Since I am officially a senior citizen, the powers that be should give me license that allows me to complain and grumble whenever I feel like it. But of course, that’s not going to happen. And anyway all the grumbling and grouching and complaining isn’t going to bring spring any faster than it’s going to come or keep me alive a single minute longer.
So what good is complaining. I think it’s good for what’s left of my mental health. It’s like letting off steam sometimes. You can’t keep everything all bottled up inside all the time – it problem ruins your liver, kidneys, heart, brain – or some necessary organ that’s floating around in an ocean of cholesterol-laden blood.
And then, when I’ve reached the depths of woe – at least concerning the apparently endless winter we’re having – I see something that remind me that a single candle can kill the darkness.
I was walking through the woods today and in the middle of the darkest, brownish, most dead looking clearing in the entire woods, I notice a patch of daffodils – maybe fifty or sixty of them – all huddled in clump. The bright-green stems stood out in splendid contrast to the crumpled, dirty, ugly winter-brown forest floor and tatters of snow that surrounded them.
The dark green wild daffodils with their bright yellow flowers stood proud against the bitter wind that seemed to blow right out of some bleak mid-January day. They danced in that cold wind as if making a promise to me that spring would come this year – in its own good time.
Each lovely yellow flower the daffodils wore was beautifully and perfectly dusted with a crown of snow. How incongruous and how beautiful snowcapped daffodils, dancing in the harsh wind of a spring that seems not to want to want to spring.
And I realized that my grumbling and complaining hasn’t changed anything. The world goes on as it will. The universe is unfolding as it should. And I’m lucky to be here and to have seen that evanescent dance of those daffodils in the snow.
You know, I think every day holds a special secret or a beautiful sight or something that we should take notice of, and all we have to do is look and listen.
Maybe every day has a special beautiful secret – like those daffodils in the snow.