Daffodils and Impermanence

The daffodils are blooming just around the corner, an exquisite carpet of yellow on the late winter lawn.  Close on the heels of the crocus, the daffodils are the annual harbinger of new life which is already, if not yet, come among us.  The deepness of the yellow, the intricacy of the bloom, the fragility of the life-bearing stem are all testaments to the earth’s longing for life.  And it is very good.

daffodilsWhen my dear one pulled me around the corner to see them, her eyes were shining with delight.  When I caught sight of them, I could feel the grin that filled my face.  Stopping to take a picture, the gardener smiled knowingly and offered that I could take some home.  His generosity not withstanding, we both knew that I couldn’t accept such an offer.  To take a daffodil, even just one, would remove it from its life source.  To take one home would quite literally kill the wonder.  Daffodils and the wonder of the spring must be observed but not owned or contained.  Yet even in the heartiness of the garden ledge, the blooms will not last more than a long week.  Stop now while they dance this week to soak in the delight.

The spring flowers shower us with essential life lessons as we are ready to listen.  For years mesmerized by their beauty, I was a couple of decades into life when I began to take seriously the fragility of these early spring flowers.  In midlife I began to understand the promise of the annual return and now as I crest this midpoint of life I find myself taken by the message of impermanence. Jesus is said to have given a nod to the lilies of the field in their simultaneous splendor and fleeting nature.  A fundamental spiritual practice is allowing the water of life to flow unimpeded in, through, and around us as we come to peace with fluidity.  Sometimes I would build a damn or cling to a dangling branch, yet movement is constant and clinging is both painful and futile. “Let go or be dragged” (Zen proverb) is the promise of the quickly changing flowers of early spring.

As I revel in the wonder of the daffodils, aware that in their wake will bloom a plethora of fragrant marvels, I begin to see the comings and goings of life put in context.  A short life span is not a comment on beauty, the ending of a chapter is not a testament to its worth, for with the passing of crocus comes the delight of the daffodils and with the passing of the daffodils comes the tulips. Life is filled with beauty and promise just as surely as it is carries sorrows and losses.  The flowers, in fact, rely on the richness of the soil where our sorrows are woven into new life.

Today I share a prayer of gratitude for the daffodils.  Fabulous, truly.

2 Replies to “Daffodils and Impermanence”

  1. I do like to bring the daffodils indoors. Nothing like a touch of Godliness in the kitchen or bathroom.

    1. fresh flowers in the house are indeed a treasure… I agree. unfortunately the youngest cat eats them! I’m learning to enjoy them outside. 🙂

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