Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (plus a rant about trilogies)
Middle-Aged and Older: Why I'll Always Be a Scrapbooker

Musing on the Lack of Eternal Daffodils: a Photo Essay

On Monday afternoon, I was outside mowing the lawn when I started to notice that I needed to snip a whole bunch of daffodils and tulips that had lost all of their petals. This made me think about how fleeting time is. I love spring, the way the light warms up with the air; how trees’ shadows change form from latticework to dappled shade; the way that color returns so slowly but without hesitation until suddenly you notice: color! And the flowers, especially the flowers. Especially daffodils (even more than tulips).  I want them to last forever, but they don’t. They can’t. And maybe if they did I’d get tired of them. But they are ephemeral, and so I love their happy yellow faces, which seem elegant and welcoming all at once.

In my yard, in May, they are all but done, except for a very few left in my back yard, which faces north and is in deep shade and so is like a second, late spring.

I finished mowing and then got out my clippers and started deadheading the daffodils. Tulips, too, and a few last purple hyacinths, now a crisp grey totally devoid of fragrance. It made me a little bit sad, the spring flowers gone so soon, April almost over, the stifling heat of summer on its way. The poem I always misquote started in my head: doesn’t everything end, and too soon? (It’s actually die, not end.) I snipped dead flowers and I thought about the missed opportunities of my life, the mistakes I’ve made, the times I didn’t sit by the daffodils and savor their beauty. Life is bittersweet.

But then I started thinking about something my sister Becky wrote on Instagram, about how everything has a beginning and an end, and finding peace with this cycle (instead of sorrow) is essential to our happiness. So I took a deep breath and I looked around. Yes, that beauty of early spring has passed. But there is still beauty here, too, on the first day of May. Just the light shining through green leaves is enough to break me right open.

So I decided to take some photos of what was beautiful that afternoon, just the things I could see. To savor, to celebrate. To help myself remember that individual beauty is fleeting but the world always holds different forms of beautiful things.

Can dandelions be beautiful? Well, the light shining through these ones in my neighbor’s yard seemed beautiful to me. Did you know that bees are healthier when dandelions are plentiful?

Dandelions

Perhaps I should’ve trimmed these—they are really almost done. But I didn’t. There is just the slightest bit of yellow left, so I left them until next week.

Daffodils

Purple is one of my favorite colors of flowers. I don’t even know what this is called, but it makes me happy.

Purple flowers

My dad landscaped our yard with many large stones. When we sold my childhood home last year, I wanted to bring the large pink quartz rock to my house, but it was far too large to move without a backhoe. I settled for this one and one other. It’s like having a bit of my dad with me whenever I am outside.

Dads rock

These iris will bloom soon, but just that ruffled tip…swoon.

Iris ruffle

This white iris is always the first one to bloom. There are still some bleeding heart flowers left, too. I love it when two plants that don’t usually bloom at the same time manage a simultaneous flowering!
Iris and bleeding heart

I planted about 25 lilies of the valley, in a damp and shady spot, a few years ago, but only two or three ever came up. Their scarcity makes them sweeter.
Lily of the valley

Little purple pansies…my grandma used to sing the little song to me, so this is her face in my garden.

Purple pansies

What's beautiful in your world?

Comments

Susan B

Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts and photos. The way you feel about daffodils is the way I feel about lilacs. Ours are in full bloom now and I've lost count of the times I've gone outside just to bury my nose in the blossoms.
I didn't know that fact about dandelions and bees but judging from our neighborhood, our bee population must be very healthy this year!

Anne-Liesse

Thank you for the walk through your garden, and the reminder that you have to stop sometimes to really see and appreciate what is around you.
We are a little ahead of you here in North Carolina, and my irises are spent, my crocuses long gone, and my peonies are almost gone, too. But this year my husband and I are eagerly awaiting the blooms on my hydrangea, a plant that we hovered over to protect from our numerous late hard freezes this year. My husband created this mish mash of sheets and chairs and trash cans to drape the buds but not weigh them down, and to try to protect them from the frosts. (Of course, I took a picture of it...). We really looked like the Clampets from time to time. We are sure it will have been worth it. So we hover and wait. I'll keep you posted.
Anne-Liesse

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