It’s finally Spring time in London!
This morning it was gloriously sunny and I went for a long power walk with a friend in Primrose Hill and Regents Park in central London.
Amidst the many dog walkers (it felt like a dog invasion!), what really stood out was the vast spread of flowers freshly sprouted almost like magic. In fact it is magical how they just show up!
But do we ever pause and wonder how the flowers got there in the first place. A while ago I wrote about how I met up with one of the gardeners in Regents Park.
All such works of art take a lot of time and dedication. And this reminds me of a well known story which you might have heard before about a field of daffodils. I do not know the author nor can I vouch if it is a true story, but who cares – it makes for an inspiring tale:-
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.”I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.
“I will come next Tuesday”, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into my daughter Carolyn’s house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
I told my daughter, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and my grandchildren that I want to see right now. I don’t want to drive another inch!”
My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this weather all the time, mother.”
“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.
“But first we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this. It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”
So we went!
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read,
“Daffodil Garden —->”
We got out of the car, each of us took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes.
The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow.
Each different-coloured variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.
There were five acres of flowers!
“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn.
“Just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.”
Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory.
We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster.
“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read.
The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.”
The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”
For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met,
who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision
of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.
Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived.
One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.
The principle her daffodil garden taught me is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time.
“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years?
Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way.
“Start tomorrow,” she said.
She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,
“How can I put this to use today?”
So the challenge for all of us is to begin TODAY.
Apply the Daffodil Principle in your life and stop waiting until that fictitious day in the future when you will begin to start living. Begin to be happy today and start creating your legacy from today onwards.
What is your legacy to the world?
What will you do TODAY to start working on it?