It’s Daffodil Time

Daffodil cut from its bulb

It’s Daffodil Time

Last year Winter brought stillness, nothingness, sleeping, quiet reflection and ancestors who visited both invited and uninvited. Despite this year’s daffodils, crocuses and early tulips, Spring has dragged its feet. We’ve been up to our eyes in rain, rain and yet more rain. But it seems to have stopped and now it is spring; well and truly Daffodil Time since Mother’s Day comes early this year. And like Daffodil Friend, the foundling in my children’s book Redhair and Daffodil Friend, everything has come early including the miniature irises that have been and now gone over in the front garden.

Two new born babies from 'Redhair and Daffodil Friend'

Baby Redhair and Baby Daffodil Friend – illustrator. Fruszina Czech

“That same year a tiny baby girl appeared in a bundle on the steps of the city hall. Wrapped in an exquisitely woven shawl of seagull feathers she had a daffodil tied to her ankle.  No one knew where she came from, and no one asked because it just wasn’t their business.

It seems strange for a daffodil to be blooming so early in the year, thought Sea Potato Mam.  The child is very weak.  She should be a spring baby but it seems she has come early.  Sea Potato Mam sighed long and hard.

Taking pity on the orphaned child she kissed her, breathing life into her little lungs.  Then she consulted a rulebook called ‘On the Care of Lost Children’.  She kept it in a cupboard in the city chamber.  It said: if you cannot locate a child’s parents then the governor of the city must take the child for her own.”  Extract from Redhair and Daffodil Friend

I am looking forward to adapting my story for the stage with fledgling performers from the University of Salford this April.

As well as the image of a daffodil I have also been thinking about the wonderful poem Harrowing by Parker J Palmer because it resonates for me. I found it on the internet via a podcast version of it I heard, I think from Tara Brach.

I will quote the poem in full here although the image I found may be a better way to experience these wonderful words:

Harrowing

The plow has savaged this sweet field

Misshapen clods of earth kicked up

Rocks and twisted roots exposed to view

Last year’s growth demolished by the blade.

I have plowed my life this way

Turned over a whole history

Looking for the roots of what went wrong

Until my face is ravaged, furrowed, scarred.

Enough. The job is done.

Whatever’s been uprooted, let it be Seedbed for the growing that’s to come.

I plowed to unearth last year’s reasons-

The farmer plows to plant a greening season.

-Parker J. Palmer

So, here it comes – new shoots – springing up, promising something. But can we still think like this though, in  our world so disrupted, corrupted and erupting with all kinds of terrible incidents, especially this last year and this Springtime still?

I feel age, experience and yet a helplessness. I am calling out to the young for hope and action. I am calling out to the old for wisdom and counsel, not literally, but in my heart and hopefully in action.

Mum would have been 90 this year: on April 24. She was born during the traditional time of the Daffodils, despite St David’s Day, and those yellow heads that came early in February this year.  Mum’s journey from her cradle to her grave was challenging – she was born alone and she died during COVID, alone. I have churned over the soil of her life for most of my own creative life. One dear memory of her is how she quoted Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ poem right up till the end, despite her dementia.

Ultimately though I have to come back to myself to do my bit as far as I am able, knowing these crises we currently experience are bigger than I can influence. What is doing something anyway? What should I, can I do?  What can I offer?

New Life

We have a new baby coming to our home very soon,

my great nephew.

that potential,

that little life.

What is to come?

I can show him our beautiful coast,

the flat lands where we live

and in that there is something,

something really positive.

So to come back to Palmer:

“Enough. The job is done.

Whatever’s been uprooted, let it be Seedbed for the growing that’s to come.

I plowed to unearth last year’s reasons-

The farmer plows to plant a greening season.”

I love this sentiment.

Comments 1

  1. Loved your reflective prose on this time of year which I finds herald hope . The land carries many hidden truths it’s where we may be buried , ” recycling us to pastures new ” I love in your own work redhair and daffodil ” the Lost children “and the duty of the governor to care for the foundling and I think of the foundling children of 2024 in Gaza, Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan and the resilience of the child to ” furrow their soil” given the right implements of love , nourishment, education , friendship and trust. Thank you very transitioning a piece of prose Carran.

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