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.
These are difficult times. These are difficult days.
The emotional resilience of many is wearing thin. The mental strength of many wavering.
What will carry us through?
In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart.
Today, this moment, I remember daffodils. Daffodils beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
I lived not too far a drive from the village that was home to William Wordsworth. This poem meant little to me. Until one spring day, as I stood at what must have been the very spot, that inspired Wordsworth to pen Daffodils in 1807.
I took it all in “.. ten thousand at a glance, tossing their heads in sprightly dance”. I stored the stunning scene and glorious beauty of it all in the reservoir of my heart. I lodged the thrill and delight in beholding that scene in the recess of my heart. That was 15 years ago.
Today, many years later, I remember those daffodils. Those daffodils carry me through another day in lockdown.
Then, I remember those other daffodils. Those daffodils that refused to die!
I made it to my lodging in the tiny village very soon after the Beast from the East unleashed a torrent of snow. The grounds covered in one metre of pristine white sleet and slush.
The morning the snowstorm abated, walking to the prayer lodge, I saw Fr Michael furiously shovelling away snow at a corner of the garden. It was not in the way of anyone’s path. Here I was, tentatively and cautiously watching my every step to avoid slipping and sliding. And there he was shovelling with such gusto where no one treads.
After what seemed like forever, Fr Michael finally cleared the mound of snow by the stonewall. He was looking mighty pleased with himself. Then I saw it. There in the clearing was a row of daffodils cruelly crushed under the heavy weight of the snow. It was a sad scene indeed. I felt sorry for Fr Michael. All that shovelling for nothing. Blanketed by snow for more than a week, it was too late to save them. So, I thought!
Three days later, Fr Michael triumphantly announced – the daffodils had risen! Behold, a resurrection in our midst! I had to see it to believe it!
I headed to the garden and was stunned by the sight before me. The daffodils had arisen and blossomed! I was amazed at the resilience of these blooms! Fr Michael, perceiving I thought he laboured in vain, said with a twinkle in his Irish eyes, “Meera, they just needed a little help to be set free. Three days of sunlight and fresh air takes care of the rest.”
Today, I also remember those daffodils that would not be crushed. Those daffodils that refused to be smothered by the avalanche of snow.
In these difficult times, what is that something beautiful you carry in your heart? Remember. Recall. Reminisce.
For a thing of beauty stored up years past, will carry you through another day in lockdown.
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,
And dances with the daffodils.