Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's April!

Back in February I posted a piece on the Harlequin American Romance Authors blog about Edith Holden’s The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady.

At the time, I thought it would be fun to do a segment every month. I missed March, but this is Holden’s cover page for April. I adore rabbits, even though they can wreak havoc in a garden.

Holden’s notes for April 1 say:

"Still, warm, cloudy day. Gathered some wild Daffodils in a field."
She also painted those wild daffs, and included a well-known poem—“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also sometimes referred to as “Daffodils”)—by William Wordsworth.

I recently read several excerpts from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal —she was William’s sister —and was interested to learn that it was one of her journal entries that inspired William to write this poem, which was published in 1807.

Here’s Dorothy’s journal entry from April 15, 1802 (five years earlier):

"When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway."
Do you have a favorite sign that spring has arrived? Daffodils are one of mine. Especially on an overcast spring day, when they remind us there’ll soon be sunnier days. Sometimes I buy a bunch of daffodils and a bunch of deep purple irises and mix them into a single bouquet for the middle of the dining room table. I love that yellow-and-purple color combination.

I hope you’re enjoying spring, or at least the anticipation of it!

Until next time,


Anonymous said...

Robins are my favorite sign of spring. When I was a child, I could never figure out how my grandfather who lived 100 miles away knew what I'd been doing. He'd always smile and say, "Cock Robin told me." I believed him for years. And he'd point out "Cock Robin" when we saw a robin. It was, of course, my mother's weekly phone call to her parents after we were in bed.

Lee, I also love the daffodils and irises. Especially irises. Again a fond memory from childhood.


Anonymous said...

as usual, Lee, I love your blog subjects. And the quaint oldfashioned watercolours look especially lovely on the computer monitor--so nice to see something soft and friendly.
I had no idea Dorothy Wordsworth had such interesting observations and enthusiasm for nature. Thanks for introducing her to me.
I like roses by themselves, tulips by themselves etc etc. But I might make an exception for daffodils with irises.

Anonymous said...

Edith Holden's illustrations are so beautiful!
They capture the softness of spring perfectly.

My first flower came out a couple of days ago.
I salvaged a bunch of native bulbs from a construction site a couple of years ago. The first year, they didn't bloom; they were just getting established, I suppose. Last year they bloomed and the deer came along and nipped all the flower heads off!
It's hard for me to object – after a long wet winter, how could a deer resist a treat like a perfect white fawn lily?



Lee McKenzie said...

Sheryll, robins were my grandmother's favorite bird. For her, they were always the first sign of spring. They're year-round birds here in the Pacific Northwest, so I look for other signs. Like daffodils!

Lee McKenzie said...

Marion, journals do often offer a glipmpse into aspects of history we otherwise wouldn't see.

Samuel Coleridge was one of the Wordsworths' best friends - Dorothy mentions him often. In addition to outdoor anecdoes, she describes day-to-day life, meals, the weather, etc.

And although she professed to have no interest in writing, she seems to have been her brother's muse.

Lee McKenzie said...

Rachel, the best gardens are the one that have plants aplenty for all who visit - including the deer and the rabbits!

Speakig of animals, I especially like that Holden doesn't anthropomorphize them in her drawings.