Monday, March 1, 2010

Whence Cometh Spring


March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodils.
From the children's book 'January Brings the Snow' by Sara Coleridge.

Believe me, I am ready for it. After two back-to-back bli
zzards dumping over 52 inches of snow in Maryland, with howling winds at hurricane 2 force, and freezing temperatures, I am looking forward to spring.

Outside my front door where the snow has melted (an amazing event in itself to see over 4 feet of snow disappear) there are daffodils sprouting in my front garden.I have to tell you about these amazing flowers. Back in the early 90s after we had bought this house, we found out that one of the oldest farms in the county was going to be destroyed and townhouses and a park were to replace it. I knew once this historical home was gone it would be soon forgotten. People would forget the house set upon a high hill overlooking the valley. All the lives, the memories, the events that occurred there would be lost forever.

My husband got permission to go onto the property before the bulldozers ground their steel teeth into the soil
and destroyed the garden that was covered over in dead leaves and vines. The house was gone, all the wood, shingles, gingerbread, doors, hinges, windows, and glass had been hauled away.

There on the hill amid locust trees, honeysuckle vine, and wild blackberry bushes were daffodils of various kinds, peeking through the old leaves on a hilly slope as if they had grown there wild. I remember looking at them and thinking that the farmer's wife most likely had planted them. I envisioned her dressed in a cotton calico dress, down on her knees with spade in hand setting the bulbs into the soil. And then when spring came, she'd go out with her scissors and cut the blooms, place them in a glass vase on her table or upon her windowsill. Sunlight would sparkle through the glass and the water, and dance over the happy blooms.


We were both sad that these beautiful flowers would be annihilated. But not all was lost. The builder told my husband we could dig up any bulbs we wanted, and so we did. The daffodils bloom every year now in my garden. I have neighbors ask me what kind they are, for they are accustomed to seeing the common bright yellow kind
, not the white-faced or orange tipped variety. I'll take some photos and share them with you later when they have bloomed.

Flora
and fauna are important elements to include in a story. They give your readers a glimpse at the scene surrounding your character and a sense of place and time. This will aid them in visualizing the story.Here is a quote from my newest novel 'Surrender the Wind' where I use this element of description. The place is a grove of trees at Henry Chase, a favorite spot for Juleah my heroine, where she goes to be alone.



The horse chestnut trees her father had planted on the hilltop beyond the garden came into view. Lances of sunlight poured between them, made the grass luminescent, matched the color of the lichen in the pond.


5 comments:

Barbara Scott said...

Rita, in an email to a friend a moment ago, I bemoaned the fact that last year at this time the daffodils were in bloom. Last Fall on a cold November day, I planted dozens in our front yard. Their little green stems sprouted up to about 4" tall during a couple of warm days in January, but they have stayed that way. Now we wait. It's cloudy, 40, and I'm longing to see the fruits of my labors. Thank you for reminding me that Spring will be here soon, and my daffodils will bloom. It's much like our lives, don't you think?

Blessings,
Barbara

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

How nice you're seeing daffodils! We're still under a thick blanket of snow. I miss the colors of spring and summer.

Thanks for the story about the farmhouse and daffodils. I hope you keep a written record of this for posterity. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Rita Gerlach said...

Barbara,
Mine are sprouting. All I can see are little spikes sprouting out of the soaked ground. Every time I walk past them in and out of the house, I see a reminder that spring will come. It's inevitable. I agree it is so much like our lives.

Susan, whenever I drive along the road where that farmhouse once stood, I imagine that hill full of blooming spring bulbs.

I'll have to post something about the irises that were passed down to me next.

Jessica said...

Oooh, daffodils blooming sound beautiful! I don't know much about plants but you're right, they help bring setting to life. Just the other day I looked up what kind of flowers bloom in Florida this time of year because my heroine was gardening. :-)
What a sweet story about the bulbs. Thank you for sharing! Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such good advice!

Bonnie Toews said...

Hi Rita,

I love daffodils, but somehow they don't thrive in my Wilmot Creek garden. I'm told the squirrels love the bulbs, but I do have great success with exotic day lilies in Summer. Why don't the squirrels take them too? Anyone?

As much as I love Spring, I also dread it--my allergies go ballistic. The two-sided edge of life. Is it irony?

That's what's so wonderful about describing blooms and scents--our characters can enjoy them without suffering with sneezing and itchy, runny eyes, unless we want to punish them.

Prayers and hugs,
Bonnie