Spring starts tomorrow.
Today, and for the last week, buttercups have emerged.
Now they are brightening the dull winter-worn landscape.
There is a sweet loveliness in buttercups. Their pleasing creamy yellow and lively green colors contrast so nicely with the deep blue sky above. Their frilly lace design and their two levels of petals dance smoothly in the breeze.
There is a permanence in buttercups. Once established, they carry on, year after year. Long ago I planted some, temporarily, at a house we were renting as we built our first family home. When I dug them up to move them I thought I got them all. But the stragglers remain there to this day. Multiplied, of course, as buttercups do.
There is a history in buttercups. In my neck of the woods you can drive down country lanes and see buttercups bunched in ditches, hiding behind stone walls, spreading underneath brambles. I wonder at the history of how they started there, and I smile at the contrast they provide.
There is an alias in buttercups. The genus name is narcissus, and the common name is daffodil, and these two titles refer to all of the many different colors and shapes that you can find. A jonquil is a specific type of daffodil that has a strong scent as well as a name that’s fun to say. But a buttercup is a totally different plant: however, I grew up saying buttercup to name these flowers (such a perfect description!), and it would be hard for me to change now.
There is an annoyance in buttercups. For those of us with allergies, they can get our noses blowing or our sinuses stopped up this time of year. My sweet students who used to bring these in to their teacher heard me say I wanted to let all the class enjoy them. So I’d put them on the table instead of at my desk, out in the open instead of under my nose. They had no idea the real reason I was so generous to share.
There is a thankfulness in buttercups. Even as they sometimes push through the snow or open on a cold blustery day, they signal winter’s end. Brighter, warmer days to come. New growth and color on the horizon. A full circle of life.
This is our son, long ago, amidst the transplanted buttercups at our first family home.