January and February have always been pretty tough months for me. The novelty of winter has passed. The post-holiday slump and lack of sunshine usually start getting to me by around mid-February. Then, just about the time I hit the bottom of my grump grove, like this week, the daffodils start blooming.
There are places in this world, like in the Ukraine, where wild daffodils (narcissi) still bloom in abundance. Narcissus has been lauded by poets throughout the world; it has been cultivated and improved since ancient times; there are narcissus societies and narcissus feasts (in Austria, for example, and in Switzerland). In Great Britain, the narcissus revered with almost as much fervor as the tulip in Holland — it is a national symbol in Wales. In China, one of the traditional names for the narcissus was “the fairy of the water.” Oriental wisdom says that the narcissus is “bread for the soul.” In medieval times in western Europe, narcissi were used in making love potions–its fragrance was believed to inspire love of beauty and bring peace of heart.
To me, daffodils, in all their colors and variety, are the unmistakable harbinger of spring. In other words, nature’s way of telling me to put on my Chaka Kahn CDs and lighten up.
Tell me something GOOD.