Friday, March 13, 2009


And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

--William Wordsworth (from "Daffodils," 1804)

Better than a groundhog, these daffodils: the true harbinger of spring. The ones in the soil are still shoots, but the ones in the stores are a wonder. You can still buy bunches of a half-dozen or so tightly closed buds; the most thrilling batches will look like yellow-dipped paintbrushes in a jar. For years I avoided the closed bunches because I was sure they would never open. But they do!

One day, two, or even three, and then comes that moment when you walk into a room and startle at the explosion of color. It's the flowers! The newly opened blossoms point radiantly upward; they seem so hopeful, so sunny. Typically, I want more. I want to get every last one while the season is still here.

I’ve been asking, and the daffodils come from places like Florida and New Jersey. They're practically local! I'm a locaflore! This year, daffodils started at $6 a bunch in some places, but now they’re abundant, and the price has dropped. $3.50, $3. For three to four days of delight? I can’t think of a better buy.

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