Ever since I memorized it in 7th grade, William Wordsworth’s poem about daffodils has delighted me. Often, I found myself quoting lines from it in March as my yard in France would burst with white and yellow beauty.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
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.
And how I loved photographing these beauties “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”, as Wordsworth so eloquently and accurately put it.
In Atlanta, daffodils make their appearance in February. I shared in my remembrance for my father that taking a walk around the block of my parents’ home with my father has always been a simple and profound joy to me.
This February, walking around the block was deeply bittersweet. Until…on one of my walks shortly after Daddy ‘graduated to heaven’, I noticed hundreds of daffodils blooming in the woods. And my heart did fill with pleasure just observing them.
A few days later, as Paul and I were again taking a walk around the block, we stopped to chat with the couple whose woods boast such splendor. They were friends of my dad, loved him, and were sorry that they would be out of town and unable to attend the memorial. When I commented on the joy their daffodils brought me in this otherwise difficult season, they invited me to drop by whenever I wanted and to pick as many daffodils as I wanted to freshen up my father’s house for the guests who would be coming after the service.
Since the memorial was two weeks after my father’s passing, the flowers we’d already received had wilted. I had hoped to get more fresh flowers for the house, and specifically white and yellow ones because these colors are also the colors of my father’s beloved alma mater, Georgia Tech. He supported this great institution with his heart and soul and finances for 60+ years.
So the day before the memorial, Paul and I took a trashcan (for lack of finding a bucket) and gathered daffodils.
In the simple pleasure of gathering daffodils, as with daily arrival of the red cardinal, the Lord reminded me again of His glorious presence in the midst of our dark valley and how all of nature groans with us and yet, at the same time, celebrates life and life everlasting.
Are you familiar with Wordsworth’s poem? Or is there another poem that brings you a particular joy in spring?
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.