Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The daffodil lesson

Our kitchen smells really strongly of daffodils right now. We have two big bunches of them and they are in full bloom. The pollen is dropping. The smell is very pungent.

I was flicking through It happens in the month of March by Ellen Jackson last night and I read about how the daffodil is the flower associated with March.

Coincidentally a letter arrived today from Marie Curie, enclosing a daffodil lapel pin and requesting a donation. I've a lot of time for Marie Currie. They have been involved in the care of a couple of people who were very dear to me.

This afternoon we talked about the daffodil and what it signifies to some. We talked about hope and how for many the daffodil is a sign of hope. We talked about Marie Curie and how they cared for Craig's mum, who sadly Hermione never met.

We took one of our daffodils and shook it over a piece of paper. Lots of pollen fell out. We cut the bulbous part behind the flower in half and looked at the hidden seeds.

This evening I read The Daffodil Lesson out loud. It went down well. I hope Hermione takes on board the message. It's a hard lesson to learn but one which I imagine (not certain I have learned yet) could really enrich life.

The Daffodil Lesson

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are gone." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I'll come next Tuesday," I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

Well, we piled everyone in the car and headed out, but after just a few blocks of driving in that thick fog, I said sternly, (I always sound stern when I’m scared to death…) "Carolyn, please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You’ll never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

Well, I gave her a good stern, motherly look, and resigned myself that I was going to die plunging down a steep mountain ravine in a car with screaming children in the fog and no-one would ever find us….

But then, before I knew it, we turned onto a small gravel road and we saw a small church just up ahead. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, “Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. There before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, almost fifty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world...

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal forty-five or fifty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting....

Until your car or home is paid off

Until you get a new car or home

Until you have kids

Until your kids leave the house

Until you go back to school

Until you finish school

Until you clean the house

Until you organize the garage

Until you clean off your desk

Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you get married

Until you get a divorce

Until you retire

Until summer

Until spring

Until winter

Until fall

Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching. And start working on your goal! When? TODAY!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Now where did I put my gardening gloves?


Author Unknown


soo said...

very thought provoking, I wonder how many of us have lived in, If only this .... and if only that ...
A lot of wasted energy, missed opportunities, love, laughter.

It's a shame that it takes us so long in our lives to realise, and learn never to put of until this or thst has happened it could sadly be too late.

Linda @ The Briar Patch said...

That's beautiful.

CJ said...

That is something lovely to contemplate :-)

CJ x

Wobblymoo said...

A lovely entry