(This post first appeared in the February issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News)
Weary of the continuing long dark nights, today I drove to Wotton in the daylight for the first time this year. Catching sight of the snowdrops lining the roadside banks cheered me up no end.
Visions of their natural successors in order of flowering – daffodils, wild garlic, bluebells – rushed through my imagination like a speeded-up nature film, fast forwarding me to spring.
Despite the plummeting temperature, I felt warmer than I had done for days.
Not for nothing do snowdrops symbolise hope in the traditional language of flowers.
I was reminded of the effect that daffodils had on Wordsworth, buoying him up long after he had got back to his cottage in the Lake District:
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.
William Wordsworth – from I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
(click here to read the poem in full, courtesy of The Poetry Foundation)
I like to think that had Wordsworth chosen to settle in Hawkesbury rather than Grasmere, he might have serenaded snowdrops instead of daffodils.
Though he might have found it harder to find a word to rhyme with them.