#1208  The Daffodil Principle

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 is 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,
"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 "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 gasped.

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. 

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 headline.

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 
thirty-five years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring 
her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. 

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: learning to move toward our goals and 
desires one step at a time

often just one baby-step at a time

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 

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 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 direct way.

"Start now," she said.

by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards. 
The Daffodil gardens are near Arrowhead Lake in Southern 
California and are open for viewing the end of April with 
wildflower nature hikes in early May.

There is a second daffodil site in Northern California that
is known as "Daffodil Hill." Pictures of this site and a story
concerning it can be found at http://www.volcano.net/daffodil/


"Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across truth.
And most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on
about their business as if nothing had happened."
--Sir Winston Churchill

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