"And the daffodils looked lovely today"
- The Cranberries, 'Daffodil Lament'
It's daffodil season in Philadelphia. Cherry blossoms line the avenues, lie scattered on the pavement. The trees have turned a delicate green, tentative as a piano, light as a touch. And in the flower bed outside my office, the daffodils have raised their brassy heads, triumphant as trumpets.
In general, I'm not a big fan of daffodils. Maybe it's the association with Wordsworth. Maybe its because, as flowers, daffodils have never struck me as being particularly appealing - they're too loudmouthed for me, too blonde; every time I look at one it makes me think of old gramophones. Give me poppies, with the secret desire in their hearts. Give me the hearty optimism of sunflowers, the elegance of carnations, the fluted poetry of orchids. Give me gladioli with their royal crests. Give me the new rose, curling infinitely in upon itself.
But I digress. If the daffodils today moved me, it wasn't because of their inherent beauty (none of that "tossing their heads in sprightly dance" stuff), it was because they seemed, in their insistence, like urgent phone calls from the Spring, to let me know she was on her way. Walking back home today, surrounded by all this newly budding life, I felt a lightness that went beyond the shedding of winter coats, beyond the sensation of air on exposed throat, on naked hands. I felt a renewal as vivid as daffodils.
Welcome, Persephone. It's good to have you back.