Spring and flowers and happiness all dwell together for me in a snapshot scene from a long-ago Equinox. As I packed up our Toyota for the Naw-Rúz (New Year, for Baha’is) party that night, I opened the car door to find our small son sitting in the backseat so surrounded by a mass of daffodils that I could barely see him. To ensure the flowers traveled safely, my husband gave him the task of holding them and it was the first time he’d seen these harbingers of spring. It’s hard to remember which was bigger, or brighter — that explosion of golden blooms, or his huge grin as he clutched his precious cargo. That smile was about the only part of him I could see.
This scene had prophecy in it. Today, our son grows tens of thousands of plants and sends them out into the wide world. As I remember that day on this spring morning nearly 30 years later, with the sounds of wild geese flying over the house, I feel a soft sadness brush against me, rather the way a dog or cat might. Such feelings seem the inevitable outcome of simply living through the decades, a necessary component of the blessing of life, the contrast between happy memories and wistful ones, wintry days and brilliant spring sunshine, dark and light. When we pause to reflect, it’s so often the contrast we come to see and recall. As one character said yesterday when I spent time in the pages of my latest work: “Didn’t it all turn out differently than we expected? Didn’t it once seem that there would be the whole sky to fly in?”
It did, no doubt for all of us. It’s not what we thought, or perhaps planned or expected. And yet, like the flowers and other plants that bloom and reappear so faithfully around us each year, there is fresh beauty and possibility in each new day. Even in the cells of the moments that make them up. No, it’s never what we thought, because it’s so very much bigger. When we look. And see. It really is the whole sky, and it will come to meet us when we stop hurling ourselves against it.
In their essence, daffodils, like so many spring flowers, remind us to be happy. It’s as though God treasured this special invitation in each one and then spread them abundantly about the landscape to make sure we wouldn’t miss it. May each new springtime remind us we are truly unlimited beings, however earthly our journey often seems.