March 17, 2020
A harbinger of spring, this particular flower is one of the earliest to appear during the first weeks of March.
The Narcissus – also known as daffodil and jonquil – has been cultivated for centuries. People are drawn to its sunny shades; a welcome splash of color at the end of winter.
A member of the Amaryllis family, its showy blossom reminds one of a face surrounded by a large bonnet. There are thousands of varieties, ranging from tiny clusters of white and yellow flowers, as well as fist sized blossoms in brilliant yellow. Less common blooms can also include combinations of orange and pink.
It was believed, at one time, that the bulb contained cancer curing properties. In fact, the bulb actually contains toxins which can lead to illness and, in rare cases, death if ingested. Rather than getting into the tall weeds in regards to that, here’s a link to the Infallible Wikipedia for those who wish to learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(plant)
The Narcissus is so popular and so prevalent, that authors have for years used it in their works.
Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:
“Shakespeare, who frequently uses flower imagery, refers to daffodils twice in The Winter’s Tale and also The Two Noble Kinsmen. Robert Herrick alludes to their association with death in a number of poems. Among the English romantic movement writers none is better known than William Wordsworth’s short 1804 poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud which has become linked in the popular mind with the daffodils that form its main image. Wordsworth also included the daffodil in other poems. Yet the description given of daffodils by his sister, Dorothy is just as poetic, if not more so, just that her poetry was prose and appears almost an unconscious imitation of the first section of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (see Greek culture, above). Among their contemporaries, Keats refers to daffodils among those things capable of bringing ‘joy forever’.”
That’s pretty high praise for a flower!
I always think of the third week of March as the season of the daffodil. While I cannot recall when, exactly, I became aware of the flower, I have always rejoiced when I see their heads pop up from the cold ground, knowing that winter is losing its grip.
My most memorable daffodil experience occurred one lovely spring afternoon in March 1993. I had been out running errands. In my company that day were my three year old son and a belly so large that it was near bursting.
We arrived back at our house sometime after 3:30 p.m. My in-laws were there; ready to provide care for the three year old as my official ‘due date’ was March 19th.
Weary after hours of errands, I sat down for a few minutes but could tell something was not right. A few minutes later, at 4 pm, I feared that my water had broken.
Now, with child number one, I had not experienced natural labor. He was a stubborn one and it took hours and hour along with a labor inducing drug to convince him to arrive.
Those who say that Pitocin and the natural hormone released by a mother’s body during labor are the same, don’t know what they are talking about. Which is why I wanted to avoid its use with child number two.
I went up to the bedroom and called the Doctor’s office, hoping that I could go in and have them check to see if, in fact, my water had broken. Nope. I was instructed to go to the hospital.
The next ten minutes involved tears, calling the hubby to tell him that he needed to come home and take me, and more tears as I wrapped my head around the situation. I assured the hubby during our call that he had plenty of time since I was not experiencing any labor pains. The tears were caused by my anticipation of a 22 hour ordeal similar to the first labor which would involve an IV drip of Pitocin.
Packing was a slow process (have I mentioned how huge I was?) as I gathered all my needed items together and, anyway, I figured I had time. As I was puttering around the bedroom and the bathroom, I kept having these ‘twinges.’ Didn’t think much about it until it occurred to my thick brain that it might be natural contractions, something I had not experienced the first time.
So I timed the twinges… and they were two minutes apart. Wow. I took my now packed bag downstairs and told my mother in law, who was standing in the kitchen, the news about the time between contractions. And then the first big one hit.
The next thing I did was step over to the sink and grip the counter, breathing through the event as best I could. On the other side of the window in our backyard my focus landed on the clusters of bright yellow blooms.
At the end of the contraction my mother-in-law exclaimed, “How soon will he get home? I didn’t sign up to be a midwife!”
And so it went for probably another 15 minutes, me gripping the counter in front of the sink as if it were a life preserver, daffodils swimming before my eyes. Soon the hubby arrived and a flurry of activity ensued with hasty goodbyes to the in laws and our eldest child, then what seemed an excruciatingly long trip to the hospital, and admittance.
Three and half hours from the onset of labor, at 7:30 p.m., our daughter was born (without any artificial labor inducing drugs OR any pain relief as there was no time!).
The next day, looking out my window at the landscaping across the street from the hospital, I could see daffodils; bunch after bunch greeted us all along the streets as we drove home with our new baby.
My daughter and I cherish the daffodil as our shared flower, a symbol of spring, new life, and connection from mother to child. Happy Birthday to you, my beloved mid-March child!