I’ve watched them for days now — watched green shoots rise fast and tall from the soft dirt, watched tight green buds swell up, gold petals breaking through green shells.
But then the cold weather came back, the growth stopped. Rain turned to snow as March turned to April. Temperatures dropped below freezing, down to 20s, teens. Weather-weariness set in with the sinking heart that comes with clouds and cold and wind.
And the nearly-opened buds stayed that way, mostly protected by the green shells with just a little gold showing through.
Today the rain came and went and and came again, but the air is warm. Winds blew the trashcan over, scattered last fall’s leaves across the alleyway.
But the brief sunshine did in a morning what days of waiting could not, and I came home today to find golden blooms open and smiling from my front flower bed.
Some of them lay in the dirt, stalks bent from the hail storm a week or two ago, and these I cut. Four small yellow blooms in a cut-crystal glass, but the scent is strong.
They smell like spring, like a fruit tea of some sort, a perfume I’ve known longer than I can remember.
They smell of abandoned homesteads in east Texas, where walls long ago crumbled but wild daffodils, planted how many decades ago in lives long gone? still mark where the house once stood.
Mom’s always loved these, once ordered 400 to plant in our front yard and made us all plant them. Come spring, she wouldn’t let Dad mow until the blooming was over, until neighbors refused to drop by for fear of the snakes lurking in the jungle that was our yard.
I don’t know about 400. But there’s nothing quite so wonderful was walking home on a warm spring afternoon and seeing that the shells have burst, the golden petals have opened wide, and here, at least, is sunshine pouring from the cut-crystal glass.