Inspiration: Daffodils

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Months have past since I have written here. Thoughts rattle about in my head and remain there. It has not been a writing time, for many reasons that will also remain in my head.

But today, something unexpectedly magical happened: the daffodils – a story so inspirational that it must be shared with the rest of the world.

My love of daffodils began here on Dream Tree Bayou when they surprised us during our first spring as the darlings popped up here and there around our property – a vestige of the previous owner and builder of our home. That visionary was a horticulturalist who dotted the vista with bulbs of varying hues to delight us every spring (or late winter in the South). But hers are not the flora about which I write. The daffodils that inspired my soul have a different story. That story begins with Granddaughter, as anything that sets my soul on fire always does.

Granddaughter has a little pixie in her soul, and I used to tell her that she came to our family when I found her sleeping in a flower. So, it was highly likely that she would feel at home among a field of daffodils. The family and I piled into the car and drove the dappled roads to Dodson, Louisiana to witness four acres of magnificence as advertised on Facebook.

As we drove past a curve in the road, the flowers’ uncommon majesty was a sight to behold, almost ethereal. How can such perfection exist here in this tired world? Somehow, it does, through the toil of an enlightened individual, someone who is somehow aware, awakened to celestial heights by reaching for the divine here on earth: a flower than can touch souls. That may sound lofty for a “simple gardener,” but that’s the point. Was she “just” planting flowers, or had she touched heaven by offering something beautiful to the world, and asking for nothing in return? I parked the car along the periphery of the fields, then approached a woman standing near a table at the entrance. Her name is Tina Knoll. What a perfect name for the keeper of a field of daffodils! My curiosity had been piqued; questions bubbled up and only answers would satiate my inquisitiveness. The tale of the Daffodil Fields is that of Mrs. Knoll’s family.

The property belonged to her great-grandmother, who originally planted a few daffodils on the family’s land. When Mrs. Knoll’s parents, Henry Nelton Adams and Thera Lou Temple Adams, bought the property in the late 1980’s, the daffodils had spread and multiplied on the homestead. The two began to dig them up, divide them, and give them room to propagate on an area of the property that could be seen by Henry Nelton’s father from his home across the road. Every year, Henry Nelton and Thera Lou would again divide and replant daffodils. Sadly, as the years progressed relentlessly forward, Henry Nelton developed cancer and passed away before he and Thera Lou could finish covering the fields with daffodils. Finding solace in the daffodils during a time of profound grief, Thera Lou continued their project as a lasting tribute to her husband. Now, more than two decades later, the entire four acres are blanketed in a quilt of varying daffodils.

Fortunately for admirers near and far, since 1998, Thera Lou has opened the Daffodil Fields to the public for three days every year. I invite you to search for their Facebook page, humbly entitled Daffodil Fields.

Imagine it: All those years ago, one woman planted a few bulbs of daffodils, though she had no idea how much lift that gesture would bring to another woman – a stranger – decades later. I’d say that she propagated more than flowers; she inspired life.