The Daffodil Principle

This year
All years
Several times my daughter had telephoned
to say, "Mother, you must come see
the daffodils before they are over." I wanted
to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna
to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly,
on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still,
I had promised, and so I drove there.

When I finally walked into Carolyn's house
and hugged and greeted my grandchildren,
I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The
road was invisible in the clouds and fog, and
there is nothing in the world except you and
these children that I want to see bad enough
to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We
drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears,
and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the
garage to pick up my car."

"How far will we have to drive?"

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive.
I'm used to this."

After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where
are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way,"
Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive
yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto
a small gravel road and I saw a small church.
On the far side of the church, I saw a
hand-lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden."

We got out of the car and each took a child's
hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path.
Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I
looked up and. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It
looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold
and poured it down over the mountain peak and
slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling
patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white,
lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.
Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that
it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique
hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She
lives on the property. That's her home."

Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house
that looked small and modest in the midst of all
that glory. We walked up to the house. On the
patio, we saw a poster.

"Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the

The first answer was a simple one."50,000 bulbs,"
it read.

The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two
hands, two feet, and very little brain."

The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was
a life-changing experience.

I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than
forty years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her
vision of beauty and joy to an obscure m ountain top. Still, just
planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had
changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed
the world in which she lived. She had created something of
ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one
of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning
to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time-often just one
baby-step at a time-and learning to love the doing, learning to use the
accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with
small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can
accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What
might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal
thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at
a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been
able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual
direct way.

"Start tomorrow," she said.

It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make living a lesson of celebration instead of a
cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

. . . . Author Unknown