Over the last few weeks, I decided to set a new aspirational goal for myself. Just be the daffodil. On the surface it appears I have lost my mind, but the goal represents something of a challenge (other than my size and color). Here's why:
The weather this Spring has brought us tornado-force winds, record rains, and 26 inches of snow in a 30 hour period of time. The snow arrived one week after the wind and one week later the snow was completely melted. In the aftermath of the bad weather, clean-up was finally started, but would continue over the months to come. The wind damage was extensive. Downed trees with root balls standing 5 feet were everywhere. Cut-up branches, trunks, and twigs were stacked along the roads and fallen trees and branches still litter backyards and woods.
One morning on my daily drive to work through an old golf course, I saw one of the root balls upended near the road with large pieces of trunk cut and stacked near the roots. The ground was pitted from the tree falling, piles of earth surrounded the area. But there in the middle of all of it - standing tall, yellow and green clumps of daffodils brightened the scene - as if they had easily popped though into a carefully landscaped garden. But they hadn't. They had somehow survived the wind-toppled maples, the too-soft, saturated ground rearranged into piles and holes. They survived the humans who were cleaning the area with heavy tools. And they had once again survived the darkness of their summer and autumn, followed by the cold of winter. They had survived to stand strong and bright - giving all passersby the hope of Spring. Once blossomed, they appeared to be delicate and pretty. But they are so much more - they are strength, endurance, reliability, and hope.
The lesson is simple - the practice is difficult. Find a way in the face of adversity to always appear as if you have it all under control - strength, reliability, tenacity, a tolerance for any tree life throws your way. Then, do all of that while providing a bright yellow and green symbol of hope - still surrounded by a muddy, grey landscape.
So, I tell myself over and over, "Be the damn daffodil."
I'll try again tomorrow.