March 1, 2010

A daffodil by any other name

daf metal jug Hooray, March is here! And in my mind, March is the beginning of spring. (I know there are actually 20 more days until the official beginning of the season, but a girl can dream). One thing I love about spring is blooming daffodils. Where I come from, we call them buttercups, but apparently buttercups are a completely different flower altogether. I never even knew! buttercups2

  (Above: these are really buttercups and what I’ve always called buttercups are actually daffodils (or  jonquils)…so confusing!)

When I was much, much younger we lived in a beautiful old house that sat on a little hill and the yard was completely filled with plants and flowers that would burst into life come spring. Lilacs, forsythia, dogwoods, azaleas, mulberry bushes and of course buttercups, er, daffodils. One winter had been unusually warm and all our daffodils were blooming. Then, as often happens in the sweet South, the weather turned bitterly cold again and it began to sleet.  

Fearing the worst for our yellow beauties, my mom and I went out to the flower bed and started cutting. We filled two or three vases and carried them back into the house. “But what about the others?” I asked. Even as hearty as daffodils tend to be, we knew that the blooms most likely wouldn’t survive the freeze. “Go cut some more, and I’ll find something for us to put them in,” said my mom. As I made trip after trip, we filled pitchers, canning jars and every other container we could find. I can clearly remember thinking “I’m braving the elements to save our daffodils!” (at least my flair for the dramatic was intact). When I finally returned to daffodils-1the house with my last bunch, I was amazed by the sight. Our house was filled with yellow blooms. To my childhood self, it felt like there must have been thousands, but regardless of the actual number, they made a beautiful display. My mom had lined them up across the kitchen table, and all around the hearth of our old brick fireplace. I even got to take a big jar to my room. While old man winter heaved and blew outside, spring came early inside our house. I will always remember the day we saved the daffodils, how it felt like such a very important task, and how it made me feel important too. And so many years later on this first day of March, even though spring is still a way’s off, I have the feeling that it might just decide to come early again.