by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
April 24, 2008
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Perhaps because I've been down with some sort of flu bug, the past few days have been particularly exquisite.
In the normal course of events, even here in rural Vermont, life has pace; it's full of work and people and errands to do and phone calls to make and e-mails to return.
But this week, as Spring crept slowly into Dummerston, I've been able to lie in bed and watch it slowly unfold.
With the windows open and a warm breeze flowing through the house, the sound of the brook at the base of our driveway, charged with snow melt, has been as loud as the waves crashing against the beach of some tropical paradise that keep you awake the first night just because you're not used to the sound.
The lilac tree is budding. The crocuses are up. The chickadees are dancing and dashing through the trees.
Because I can't sit at the computer long, I am spending my time staring out of the windows. Daily, I have been watching the daffodils grow and open. Now they are spreading their buttery version of yellow sunshine all over the hill behind my kitchen window.
Even more than having the snow tires replaced, or putting away the heavy winter coats, or airing the down comforters, they are the trustiest sign that another long and hard Vermont winter is finally over.
I live for them. I love them. That's why my husband calls me a daffodil slut.
A few years ago, he found at a thrift sale, and brought home for me, a 1994 book about daffodils, "Flora's Gems: The Little Book of Daffodils," by Pamela Todd. I wrote a column out of it in 2004. This year, I reached for it again.
Todd uses the famous Wordsworth poem, "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud," to open her book.
"Wordsworth first saw his great drift of daffodils growing alongside the Lake at Ullswater during a walk with his sister Dorothy in 1802," she tells us.
In her journal, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote about the experience: "There were more and yet more... I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and about them; some rested their heads upon these stones, as on a pillow, for weariness, and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind..."
And Wordsworth, of course, wrote: I wandered lonely as a cloud/ That floats on high o'er vales and hills/ When all at once I saw a crowd/ A host of golden daffodils/ Beside the lake, beneath the trees/ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
The daffodils left him breathlessly happy.
A poet could not but be gay/In such a jocund company;/I gazed - and gazed - but little thought/What wealth the show to me had brought.
As I lie in bed, Wordsworth's ending means the world: "For oft, when on my couch I lie/ In vacant or in pensive mood/ They flash upon that inward eye/ Which is the bliss of solitude/ And then my heart with pleasure fills/ And dances with the daffodils."
Imagine. Me and those Wordsworths. Daffodil sluts, all of us.< A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.