Like many people, Spring is my favourite season of the year; a season which heralds so much hope for the year ahead. After the greyness of winter, the landscape starts to fill with the colour of spring flowers and blossom. The smell of freshly-cut grass begins to fill the air and birds start making preparations for building nests and nurturing new life.
On Wednesday, I conducted a short service for an interment of ashes at a cemetery in Sheringham. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining and the landscape was dotted with people enjoying the beautiful Norfolk coastline.
It was a small gathering – just myself, the funeral director, and the wife and daughter of the gentleman (I shall call him Mr P for the purpose of this post) who was being granted his final resting place.
I had already cared for this family last year, when I conducted the funeral service for Mr P. This was the final chapter in his farewell.
After my few words, Mr P’s daughter commented that she wished she had brought along a flower to throw into the grave. We glanced around and I noticed a mass of yellow in the far corner of the cemetery. She and I walked over to the area and as we got closer, it was evident that most of the daffodils had already bloomed and were now wilting back.
But one daffodil stood proud and tall, as if to say “pick me!”. And so we did (I hope that was allowed!…). That single flower played a very important role, in that moment in time.
That solitary daffodil was the only one in that whole area which hadn’t yet bloomed past its seasonal best. And looking at all the others, it reminded me that all too soon, the bloom of spring will too fade and die, making way for a new season. No matter how much we may want to freeze a moment or a season and let it live forever, the hands of time will continue to turn…
This poem seems to encapsulate that very sentiment.
I will always remember that one daffodil and although it now lies beneath soil, it’s beauty and stature will always be remembered.
‘To Daffodils’ BY ROBERT HERRICK
Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Until the hasting day
But to the even-song;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.