Saturday, March 29, 2008

Daffodils and Memories -- jcarolek

When we moved to Virginia at the end of 1988, we moved into a house that was in the middle of the woods. With a gravel and dirt (heavy emphasis on the DIRT) road, a quarter mile long and too narrow for two cars to pass, as the access to our new home, we definitely got to know our neighbors well...immediately. Three houses were serviced by this road, ours being the "end of the the line", not because the road itself ended, but because it became such a bog just after our driveway, that passage beyond was impossible. The occupants of the other house on that road had to use the other end of the road to access their driveway.

So, it was quiet back there. We had a little over six acres, and each of our neighbors had that much or more. We had the occasional horse with a courageous rider venture down our dirt road, but otherwise, whenever the sound of tires on gravel filled the air, we knew we had "company."

And in this peaceful setting, my children flourished. They had more freedom to explore than I would have felt comfortable allowing them, had we lived in a neighborhood. And in the spring, from early March, actually, they would spend hours in the woods picking daffodils. Our little county of Gloucester, VA is or was at one time, the "Daffodil capitol" of the U.S.....well, maybe it was one of those self-proclaimed honors...I really don't know, but it is true that everywhere you look this time of year, the fields and the woods are fairly bursting with their bright yellow heads. Friends of mine here actually grow and develop new strains of this spring favorite, a feat they have explained, takes seven years to accomplish. Their creations are then sold to the bulb growers in Holland, and folks the globe over order their new varieties....carefully "encouraged" by Brent and Becky.

It was not unusual for me to get home from work, to find my children returning from their latest foray into the woods, arms brimming over with their bounty of jonquils. And we'd fill the vases with them and enjoy their beauty, indoors as out.

Two weeks ago, as we prepared for our final performance of our play, one of the other actors looked out the window from our upstairs dressing room vantage point at the American Legion Hall. He said, "hey, there's a girl coming up to the building, carrying a bunch of flowers!"....Well, I looked out the window, already knowing who it would be. It was, of course, my quite grown, and a floral designer, by trade. Sure enough, she carried with her a beautiful arrangement of spring flowers, and in the mix were some of those vivid yellow daffodils. My mind rushed back to those memories of the children, emerging from the woods, laden down with their yellow beauties...and I smiled. When she gave me the flowers during intermission, she informed me that she had brought most of them from her home in Charlottesville, but, when she and Benoit had arrived in Gloucester, the daffodils were so abundant, she just HAD to stop and pick some, to add to the arrangement!

Today was the annual Daffodil Festival and Parade here in Gloucester, VA. I did not attend, as I had to go into the office to complete some work that was hanging over my head.....but I missed attending, as it also was a favorite of ours through those growing up years. Imagine my surprise when, a friend, one who lives quite far away, someone who could have no clue about my "history" with this flower, sent me today a gorgeous photo of a stand of daffodils....not that crazy, naturalized look to which I am so accustomed, but a stand of maybe five, heads all facing different ways...a hand in the photo to steady their sway long enough to capture the shot. A perfectly lovely thought. A perfectly lovely feeling. And again, a door that opened the floodgates of memories.....

And I am left wondering at life's little coincidences.....why that photo? Why today? Interesting. Beautiful. Touching.

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