March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day are just around the corner.
Some famous people were born in this month, e.g. President Andrew Jackson, singer James Taylor, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, scientist Albert Einstein, and author Dr. Seuss. Women’s History Month claims this month as its own, and daffodils are its flowers. They are a symbol of friendship.
Though their botanic name is narcissus, daffodils are sometimes called jonquils, and in England, because of their long association with Lent, they’re known as the “Lent Lily.”
Lore connecting the daffodil to not only a sign of winter’s end but a lucky emblem of future prosperity is found throughout the world. In Wales, it’s said if you spot the first daffodil of the season, your next 12 months will be filled with wealth, and Chinese legend has it that if a daffodil bulb is forced to bloom during the New Year, it will bring good luck to your home.
You have probably heard of the Ides of March, however, because it is the day Roman statesman Julius Caesar was assassinated. The immortal words “Beware the Ides of March” are uttered in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to the leader by a fortune-teller.
March was my grandmother’s favorite month. She lived on a dairy farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and winter weather had its own staying-power there. The blooming daffodils in our yard were usually about three weeks ahead of hers. Lulu would call my mom with the definitive morning when her daffodils opening their sunny blossoms. Sometimes they were covered with snow, but Lulu was ecstatic to see those harbingers of spring.
I am pleased that my daffodils, transplanted from where I grew up, survived the cold rain from last week. Some are limping along and hardly raising their heads to the skies, but their cheerful, yellow stands out in the brown and dreary yard, a welcome sight.
In sixth grade, my teacher had us memorize a poem every month and recite it in front of the class. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” was her pick for March. Some of the lyrics are still stuck in my head.
Oh, let’s enjoy the daffodils!
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
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,