This early-year season brings my favorite things — chirping birds, flitting butterflies, sweet honeysuckles draping over walls and fences, and those beautiful daffodils sticking their heads up through the cold, spring ground. Those pretty yellow flowers are the joy of my springtime. When I was young, as soon as their yellow petals opened I gleefully plucked them until I gathered enough to make my first spring bouquet. Then I gingerly took them home, carrying them ever-so-gently, as though they were babies that I was careful not to hurt.
Flowers are the love of my life, and it just wouldn't be spring to me without those attractive, eye-catching petals atop those long green stems. They make springtime complete, and I always take time to stop and smell the roses. I can hardly wait until the first frilly yellow daffodils pop their heads up from the cool, spring soil. When I see those first, fashionably-dressed beauties, I know spring has sprung. It's amazing how everything in nature knows when the seasons change. Just at the right time Mother Nature bursts out of hiding and gets busy doing whatever she has to do during this warm, inviting, and enjoyable season.
Daffodils are my favorite flowers. God knew I would fall in love with them, so each year He sprinkled golden-yellow daffodil seeds all up and down the road near our house. The first time I saw those pretty, deep yellow blossoms swaying in the early springtime breeze, I ran down the road and picked every gorgeous flower in sight. Not only are they a beautiful sight for the eyes, but they are so independent, too. They grow without any personal care or special nurturing. They only need the rain from the heavens to nourish their bodies. Each spring I could, without fail, expect the ditches along the roadside to be ablaze with my favorite trumpet daffodils ... and they always were.
After I gathered my sweet-smelling bouquets of blooms, I hurried home to look for something to put them in. Now, my poor, country family had never heard of or even seen a vase— at least, I hadn't. Our containers were crude versions of vases: old cans, fruit jars, buckets, and anything else that would hold water. When I had stripped the earth of its pretty flowers, I put them in whatever holders I found. I set them across the long porch that ran the length of our house. I can still see it now: a bright row of almost identical yellow blossoms. What a beautiful sight! A warm, delicious feast for my childish eyes. I thought that other people passing by might enjoy the beauty of my front porch nursery.
Once I was done stripping the ditches of those wild blossoms growing along the road, I visited the florist just up the road. Our neighbor, Mrs. Brown, appeared to compete with Mother Nature in growing her blossoms. She obviously loved flowers and no doubt planted every variety that would grow in Arkansas soil. The love of her life was her own nursery with rows and rows and rows of the prettiest petals you've ever seen. I would follow her as she trumped up and down the rows, dutifully clipping stem after stem and politely handing them to me. My little, beady eyes feasted on the labors of her love and the beauty that her hands had nurtured to fruition.
Bees buzzed around the honeysuckles that hung gracefully on the vines overlapping the walls near the old country school house. You could smell their fragrance a mile away. I just loved to tip-toe up to them (as though I thought they were going to suddenly disappear) and gently pull the stems from the center of their little, sweet-smelling bellies. There is a delicious collection of nectar that I sucked out of every honeysuckle flower that I could. I did that to keep the bees from getting to them first, but I'm sure they got their share of nectar, too, as the flowers bloomed and lingered for quite a spell.
When it comes to the fields and meadows, Southwestern Arkansas is mostly pine, and the only things they produce are needles and cones with a fragrance nowhere near that of a dainty rose. They are not as beautiful as a rose, either, but they will do. Pines are green all year, so during the spring there's not much new about them. Actually, there aren't many trees that have buds that blossom into full blooms like apple and cherry trees, which as a child, I never saw.
The nice aromas of this lovely season make the days so pleasant and enjoyable. Just to walk outside, stretch your arms, yawn loudly, inhale deeply, and smell the roses is a special treat for even the happiest soul. Spring just isn't spring if the breeze isn’t punctuated with those air-perfuming honeysuckles and brightly colored roses. What delicious fragrances they emit! When you're surrounded by so many blossoms, the outdoors smells like a big perfume garden.
Photo by Adobe Stock/Samo Trebizan