The first sighting of daffodils each year makes my heart sing and evokes the fondest thoughts of my late mother and father, both of whom adored the flowers, and the poems associated with them.
Well, today was the day of days. I was driving from Passage East into Waterford City and there on a bank on the side of the road the gleam of yellow had me enthralled, with all thoughts of the political crisis in Northern Ireland, Brexit and the coming of Donald Trump disappearing from my cluttered mind.
I’m not sure if anyone can see daffodils without finding themselves quoting line after line of William Wordsworth’s The Daffodils. I certainly can’t as it is a poem that has embroidered my heart since I was a tot and the yellow threads grow deeper each year:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
The mere sight of daffodils brings me back to those precious evenings from January to September in 2010 when Father and I chatted, laughed, drank tea, listened to music, sat in companionable silence and enjoyed poetry together.
As he drifted off to sleep I would always return to William Wordsworth’s The Daffodils and without fail Father would join in with me when I reached the last stanza:
For oft, when on my couch I lieIn vacant or in pensive mood,They flash upon that inward eyeWhich is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills,And dances with the daffodils.
There is much that flashes upon our inward eyes but some things linger there as our anchors of love.
Yesterday was some kind of a strange day here in Ireland and Jean was all over the place in every kind of way. She was up verrrrrrrrrrrrrry early, even before I was awake, and said we had to go out and get a sense of Ireland.
I was all for it but was a bit taken aback when she whizzed down Main Street and jumped out of the car and made for the pub that she always calls her very favourite in Tramore:
For a terrible minute, I thought she was going to head in there and leave me in the car for the day and maybe all night. But, thankfully, it wasn’t open ~ I don’t think anywhere was open at this stage.
Well, the beach was open and it felt great to be able to play ball and have the whole place to ourselves:
Instead of going home, we went on out the coast road and she juddered to a stop again when she saw that the daffodils were all yellowy on the road to Annestown. Must say, I like them too:
Next, she’s out in Bonmahon and pulling towels and stuff out of the back seat. I can’t believe my eyes when I see her taking off her clothes and dashing into the sea that looked like a big roll of tin foil. I was certain I’d never see her again and just stood in a tizzy blinded by the glare.
She’d written something on the sand before she went in but I couldn’t read it:
I got her home eventually and she said that she’d have to take a photo of me trying to have snooze after all that roller-coastering.
I don’t know if I was dreaming or not but it seemed like there was music and horns and stuff making an awful racket when I was sleeping in the sun under the kitchen table. I haven’t a clue what that was about. But when we went out again, I did notice a lot of people wearing HUGE green hats and it seemed like lots of them had grown plants on their jackets.
Yes, we went out again and this time my Dada was with us. He’s as terrified as cliffs as I am and the pair of us cuddled up when she disappeared all excited trying to ‘catch the sun’ out on the Copper Coast. This is what it looked like to me ~ a massive big ball rolling right at me:
She came back after ages and ages and ages and this is what she showed us:
I needed to get all this off my chest ‘cos I’m afraid I might be going to have a few nightmares. I’m all sleepy now and hoping that tomorrow will be more like normal.
Here’s what I’m going to try and dream about:
I was driving in search of brightly painted houses the other morning when I saw the most welcome sight of the year so far … a bank of daffodils in bloom.
It was one of those perfect moments when Spring wrapped her loving arms around me.
As I stepped out of the car, a choir of birds were singing merrily overhead on the branches of a sunlit tree:
The scene was all sunlight and shadows; and as brightly painted as anyone could have wished for:
So many thoughts as I knelt down to just be with the daffodils: that photo of Mother holding the bunch of daffodils;
Dad standing at the kitchen window watching his daffodils blowing in the wind; me reading The Daffodils to Dad when he was in bed in those last few months of his life and him chiming in when I thought he was asleep …..
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
That post I wrote on International Happiness Day has kept my spirits raised thanks to the great response that it got and the sense that it resonated with people around the globe.
I want to thank writer Frances Macaulay Forde, who lives in Australia and blogs on the lovely site Exploring Possibilities, for following up on her comment and sending me this happy, happy photo of herself and her niece among daffodils which was taken in Ireland in 2003.
Thanks also to writer Roy McCarthy, who lives in Jersey and blogs at Back on the Rock, for jogging me into ‘count your blessings’ mode through his comments. He succeeded in catapulting me back to absolute basics and, even though I thought I didn’t take much for granted, I’ve realised that I absolutely do and this is something I plan on changing.
Here’s a little example of how Roy sent me into reflective mode early yesterday morning!
It is quite astonishing where counting blessings takes one!
Today is International Day of Happiness, something I only realised early this morning.
I’ve spent hours, now, reading poems and quotes about happiness and how it has been perceived, defined, experienced, the lot.
But before I started out on that venture, one vision flashed into my mind as my symbol of happiness. It was William Wordsworth’s ‘host of golden daffodils.’
Daffodils are bright, vibrant, perennial, and their cups overflow with happiness ~ past, present and future.
I could write about them forever but what I really want to know is what is the first thought that the word ‘Happiness’ evokes for you?
Co. Waterford has been getting quite a battering from the storms that have been causing havoc in Ireland and the UK in recent weeks.
Today was a day on which I felt a driving need for reassurance that everything was okay with the world and especially in precious places around Tramore that somehow anchor me.
Yes, sands and stones had shifted but out in Newtown Wood daffodil shoots glinted at me with a promise of brightest yellow in a few weeks.
Today, I shall plant daffodils to mark the passing of Nelson Mandela. I know it is late in the year for planting these flowers that I associate so much with love and peace. However, I suspect that they will thrive against adversity, just as Nelson Mandela did, and continue to shed perennial light on the world, just like this great man of vision, determination and reconciliation
“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” (Nelson Mandela)
Sleep peacefully, Mr. Mandela, and thank you for an inspirational life well spent in bettering the world.