I sat out for a little while yesterday, tanking some sun. The wind was a bit fierce and cool, but I figured that, if I exposed enough of my legs and arms, I could tank up enough Vit D for a day in, say, twenty minutes. I congratulated myself once again on having landscaped the flowerbeds with small river stones, leaving openings for only my choicest clumps of flowers. The beds looked wonderful. Neat. Tidy. No weeds. No mess. No work. And then it hit me—landscape cloth and stones had covered up one of my most priced possessions: the snowdrops, these first signs of spring that I had so carefully dug up out of the lawn the year before and had gingerly planted at the corner nearest to the window where I write so I wouldn’t miss them.
I had forgotten all about them when the landscape fellow covered it all.
I jumped up and ran to that corner, fully expecting dearth and ready to cut and dig to see if I could find the tiny bulbs. What met me instead was a miracle. I will never know how these determined little flowers made their way through heavy cloth and stones, but they did, and I near cried. It’s just one tiny clump of blossoms, but already three bees had found it, and it looked so proud to me, I could have kissed it.
Why it meant so much to me, I couldn’t say. But I have a hunch that, when I was a child, I thought that flowers, especially wildflowers found in unexpected places, were actually jewels growing out of the soil. I could sit by a flower and study its intricate beauty forever. Who knows why certain things catch our fancy and make us happy?
So I did a little research on the snowdrop, and I found that certain estates in England have snowdrop festivals just as soon as their carpets of snowdrops appear in late winter. I also found a lovely little item in Wikipedia. An author and illustrator named Duvoisin thought that the magical herb moly in Homer’s Odyssey may well have been the snowdrop whose properties helped Odysseus to counteract Circe’s poisons. If this is true, then the little snowdrop in my garden has a very long, mythical history indeed and unwittingly connects me to one of my most favorite pieces of literature.
To read the chapters of Diary of a Naive, click here . . . .