Right when we think we’ll never, never ward off worries and anxieties, right when we always, always feel leery about going anywhere with the plague hanging over us, when our winter garden schedule goes haywire, when we could write a book titled How to Get Cranky, up come the daffodil trumpets booming outrageous spotlights. Even though they’ve arrived a month early, they reboot our brains, cheer us up, magnetize our attention to help us see with fresh eyes.
Look and look again at this daff bud about to emerge from its elegant spathe, or sheath. It’s magnificence compels us to revisit the rest of the daffodil story.
Here’s a bulb awakening from the previous year’s dormant season. The papery decorative, protective layer resembles the spathe.
This upside down bloom slides through the crinkly, striped spathe.
The classic King Arthur, a descendant of the wild Narcissus pseudonarcissus, commands us to take heart, wake up, fear not.
Here, we have only a few of the 1100 varieties in the Amaryllidacea family. Even so, we are bombarded with mesmerizing details and complexity.
Bulbs clone themselves, which is the most efficient daffodil reproduction. They also develop seeds, which take seven or more years to mature. Here, the central stigma is ready to accept male pollen.
You can see the stigma surrounded by six anthers that produce male pollen.
Sometimes the six petals seem to be wings of a fanciful being.
We enter the flower power party.
Sunny, frilly outfits swoop up our imaginations as our inner rhythm syncs up with the daffodil dance.
Yes, we tap a daffy tune.
For this party, the more, the merrier.
Last to arrive is Poetica–my favorite.
The ballroom orchestra plays all night.
In the morning, petals glisten and as the sun orbits, the spathe’s shadow shifts.
We’ve had a barrel of fun, and even though curling, brown-edged petals mark the beginning of the end, I want to minimize the bittersweet quality of the 2022 season, which is quickly drying out. Daffodils inspire us on every level–practical, scientific, imaginative. Here, Jim sees a shadow of an ancient Incan gardener.
The drying petal reminds us of both the bud’s womb-like spathe and the bulb’s underground cloak during summer/fall/winter.
Like the daffodil, may we learn to be safely wrapped, ready for new roots that will nourish and ramp up outrageous loves.
~ You may especially enjoy Brian Johnston’s amazing microscopy adventure into the cells of a daffodil: http://microscopy.uk.org./mag/artapr07/bj-daffodil.html
~ Carolynn Abst, thank you for inspiring this story with your extraordinary photo of the bud’s spathe-womb.
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