I see her kneeling in the grass along the stone fence that runs by the dirt road, sitting back on her heels, her face dirt smudged from wiping the hair out of her eyes.
It’s the first real warm day in March, after a long grey Ozark Mountain winter. Little spears of green grass are thrusting up through the dirt, so happy to greet the sun’s rays again.
She looks up at the sky, so, so blue overhead, and spots one lonely hawk soaring over the trees that grow across the road from the farm house. She looks a bit longer, wondering what it would be like to be such a bird and fly so high, always near the sun. So many places he must’ve seen, she thinks.
She thinks of her husband, plowing up the ground to get ready for the spring planting, and softly smiles as thoughts of his courtship flicker through her mind. Such a handsome devil he was, still is. He’s such a rascal.
She spots her two girls playing by the creek in the woods. Such good girls, and such sisters they are. They look out for themselves, help around the house so nicely. She smiles proudly over at them.
She returns to her gardening. She scoops up a little pocket-size scoop of dirt, lays it aside, then pops in a daffodil bulb. She looks at it a minute—maybe she whispers a few encouraging words to it—then she slides the loose dirt back on top and gives it a little pat.
She continues this process until all the bulbs are planted and softly encouraged to grow. She waters them, then goes back inside the little farm house to wash up and begin supper.
The flowers listen, and they grow and grow and grow until they cover the entire front yard, and spill out into the lane in front of the house.
The flowers bloom all spring, every spring, bringing such joy to her that she can’t wait for Spring to arrive. They are her promise of brightness, of cheerfulness, of renewal and hope after Grey Winter.
The flowers bloom during the four years her rascal of a husband is off fighting in the Pacific.
They bloom during two more pregnancies and two little boyhoods.
The flowers continue to bloom even after she and her husband move those two boys into town, and the two girls have moved away to start their own life.
The flowers bloom long after she and her beloved husband have passed away.
I come to the old place with one of those boys years later on another warm March day.
He shows me where she had planted them, and tells me how she had delighted in them every spring.
Together we carefully dig them up, and divide them between us and take them home.
I think I hear the words she spoke to those daffodils if I listen hard enough. They paint a picture for me each spring, and I can see her kneeling in the grass along the stone fence that borders the dirt road, sun shining down on her, gentle breezes playing in her dark hair, and a radiant smile across her face.
This is a re-post from my previous blog. Because it's finally Spring and daffodils are spilling across lawns and pastures everywhere here in Arkansas, I thought I'd post this again. It's one of my favorite stories I've written, and I truly do think of Grandma whenever I see her daffodils blooming in my garden. Only one bloomed this year, but that's enough to fill my heart with warm, yet shady memories of her. I do hope Spring is coming your way wherever you live in the world.