Daffodils and Narcissus

By Rob Packer

Whenever I come back to the UK, I’m usually mystified by the way my more meteorologically sensitive compatriots see one sunny day and imagine that their prayers have been answered and the island has been picked up overnight and relocated to the sunnier climes they feel they deserve. Confused I remind myself sceptically that climates often don’t change that much and—in crueller moments—remember complaints about the “sweltering” heat of 28°C and wonder how long this would last.

But after endless—well, six or seven—coquettishly sunny days I’ve been bitten by this stereotyped optimism and (especially the past few days) duped into daydreams about picnics in the park by Daylight Savings Time, 7:30 sunsets and the daffodils finally splashing yellow at the end of the garden.

While I was taking photos of the daffodils—part of the narcissus family—yesterday afternoon, I was reminded of the story of Narcissus (vain youth falls in love with his own reflection, dies, turned into flower) and couldn’t help but think that really the joke’s on Narcissus.

As well as being immortalized as the least endearing of character traits, he was also transformed into this strange proboscis of a flower. I like the daffodil because it symbolizes spring and Easter, Wales and St. David’s Day. They paint yellow over the countryside and, of course, allude to Wordsworth wandering “lonely as a cloud” with the daffodils “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”.

But even so, I couldn’t decide: is it objectively, or just sentimentally, beautiful?

2 Responses to Daffodils and Narcissus

  1. What an exquisite nod to the Wordsworth and the daffodil. Since you posted this beauty, I’ve been spending time with Wordsworth again. So thanks! For the love of “splendour in the grass, glory in the flower,” it’s the perfect time of the year. Enjoy the week! Theadora

    • robpacker says:

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! And enjoying Wordsworth too – This springtime sun over Europe really does feel made for poetry.

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