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William Wordsworth’s famous poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” the poem many of us memorized as schoolchildren, comes to mind this time of the year as we see daffodils, buttercups, narcissus, jonquils and any number of varieties of related flowers in yards, fields and public places. They are glorious this year.
My love of these spring flowers has its roots in my childhood as I enjoyed them each year on my grandparents’ farm in beds in the yard, in clumps in the pasture and along the paths that led down to the fields.
This past week as I was driving down Nash Street in Wilson, I passed by St. Therese Catholic Church and enjoyed once again the large bed of pale yellow flowers in the daffodil family, a gift to our community and a yearly reminder of the glory of the reliable natural world.
This family of flowers, some of which have shallow cups and some deep and all of which have petals of some shade of yellow, charms us with their beauty, fragrance and green stems, some short and others tall and elegant. What smells better than the seemingly frail narcissus, which is not frail at all, since it is often the first to bloom before the weather has turned warm? A clump of narcissus that has been forced indoors in a blue and white pot is a spot of exquisite beauty!
Our friend, Margaret Brinkley, recently shared a photograph of her daffodils that lined her winding driveway near Black Creek. Margaret said that her daffodils bloomed early this year and that they are already gone. Surely everyone who went down her driveway this year nodded in approval of their beauty, just as the flowers themselves nodded in the breeze.
One of my fondest childhood memories is taking a bouquet of daffodils to a teacher, the stems wrapped in newspaper to absorb the liquid from the stems. The teacher would display the spring flowers on her desk in a fruit jar or sometimes a fancier vase to add a fresh breath of spring to the classroom.
Our yard has numerous varieties of the wonders mentioned above, but our favorite variety of this year is one called Peach Cobbler Double Daffodil. It towers above some of the more petite varieties, standing 30 inches from the ground to the top of the flower as it appears to oversee the other vegetation in its area of the yard.
Wordsworth claimed to have seen ten thousand daffodils “at a glance, tossing their heads in spritely dance.” Surely there are more than 10,000 flowers of the daffodil family in bloom in town, all of them housing a little world within their cups.
As I write, I see in front of me a bud vase with one stem of narcissus; six flowers are on the one stem, and six pedals are on each flower; each flower has a cup filled with botanical features that could be the topic of a good science lesson.
Wordsworth continued to say that we are in “jocund company” when we are near daffodils and that they show us “wealth.” What a thought!
Richard Ratliff said, “Daffodils are yellow trumpets of spring.” If that is true, they played their music on time this year.
We are already four days into spring.
Sanda Baucom Hight is retired from Wilson County Schools after serving as an English teacher and is currently a substitute teacher in Wilson County. Her column focuses on the charms of home, school and country life. Email her at email@example.com.