Chin Up, Buttercup

Daffodils (with the somehow sunnier, springier name “buttercups”) and I go way back. They have to be one of my favorite flowers.  I remember my grandmother always looking forward to seeing them pop up in the early, early spring (before it’s official by the calendar).  She called them “jonquils.”  As a grown-up, I have now learned that these various names refer to different flowers and the jonquils my grandmother loved so much are actually the ones I love, too.  But for some reason, I can’t seem to keep calling them some variation of the wrong name.  Ah, well – new tricks and all that.

These little bits of cheer are special to me for several reasons.  There’s the association with my beloved grandmother, like I said.  She and I shared a love of spring-time and it’s arrival (never too soon!), which always meant that we could soon be outside puttering around (well, she puttered – I’m not sure what I did.  Now, I suppose, I am the putter-er).

A second connection to these little flowers: there was also an old, old, old quiet cemetery across the street from my dorm in college – sometimes *A* and I would walk through the cemetery, especially on the first warm days of spring, and we’d see huge clumps of jonquils blooming.  Beautiful place.  I think that’s where my own appreciation for these little miniature announcements of springtime first really started, probably because they reminded me of home (of grandmother).

Right now, there’s a little cluster of jonquils at the base of our mailbox that have braved two significant snows in the past month since their green shoots first appeared.  I was so happy to see them this year after all of the cruddy winter weather we’ve been having, I considered (briefly) standing over the little sprouts with an umbrella to keep off the snow and sleet. They haven’t bloomed yet, but they’re getting close. The green-ness is enough for now.

Spring 2014 006

Every time I pass the mailbox I inspect their progress. Which has been frequently lately, as their arrival brings with them the irresistible urge to get outside (and stay, basking in the sun, like I have for the past two days, puttering, no less, in the yard).  

On a deeper level, these flowers are little cheerleaders reminding me that the good things of home are still there, that my memories of my grandmother are as strong as ever, that the old cemetery is probably alive with yellow blooms right now, and that, for *A* and I, better things are coming…

Chin Up, Buttercup

image source


9 thoughts on “Chin Up, Buttercup

  1. Love this. I love this time of year best. Beautiful happy things popping up out of cold, stark winter. It’s hopeful. Your mom’s right.

    Daffodils always make me think of my grandma’s favorite poem.


    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.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    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:

    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.

    William Wordsworth

    • I remember this poem! I’m pretty sure I had to memorize this when I was in middle school – and I know, whatever grade that was, I included it in my “Poetry Portfolio” of poems I liked and had to analyze. But I had forgotten it since then – I’m glad you reminded me of it.

      Come to think of it, I’m sure you strolled that same cemetery (with us?) – remember all those clumps of happy little daffodils each spring? I think of it every year – weird to think of “ye olden days” at the old age of 32, eh?

  2. bettydraperspolkadotpartydress
    do you remember when we went to England with the choir and we walked around York together and there were all those daffodils on the side of a hill by the stone wall? You took a picture of me the *E* in that spot and he still has that picture!

  3. Pingback: Ah, weekends! | The Littlest Brooks-Livingston


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