It may only be half way through July yet the sight of snowdrops popping up fills me with pleasure. I have always thought there was something quite magical about this particular flower that I have loved ever since I was a small child.
In amongst the branches of the tree houses that formed my early life my friends and I were enthralled with the world of Cecily Mary Barker's flower fairies, we each had our different favourites and mine was not the more popular rose, lavender or sweetpea, nor was it the bright columbine or fuscia flowers my friend adored. My favourite was the snowdrop along with the willow and gentle forget-me-not. Even as a child I was more of an introvert who preferred to reflect quietly along the river banks than frolic around in bright colours with the other fairies.
The snowdrop is a flower that is delicate yet tenacious. It's flowers are fragile, quivering little white bells on the end of bright green stems. From a design perspective they are nicely balanced with the stem colour being carried through into the delicate spotting design along the petals edge. They crush easily, wilt easily but they are strong and determined little things popping up when it's still a bit cold and taking those first steps into spring. I took them to heart as a metaphor, I can cope with the cold and desolation when things are not always rosey. I may be fragile in some ways but strong in others. It appears as a lonely flower sometimes yet its role is also a herald for better times ahead. I am not an obvious beauty yet if you peer closely and can appreciate the subtleties then yes beauty is definitely to be found there. Of course it is not a complete metaphor by any degree, but rather a sliver of a whole.
So it was with great joy when I went home to check on mum and dads place while they were away, to clear the letterbox and sweep the fallen camellias from the drive, that I spotted these lovely little darlings springing up at the base of the old magnolia tree. Again this is part of their beauty, growing up at the base of a tree, adding that little splash of green and dashing flair to the trunk of a tree whose own magnificence is further upwards. I brought some of them home with me and popped them into a humble glass bottle. As I sit here drink my tea they do indeed still bring a smile to my face thinking of their beauty and the memories they conjure up for me of idyllic days amongst the garden beds.
I had forgotten the beauty of these flowers in many ways, I guess I wished to distance myself from the struggles of childhood, to reach forward into new things, at the florist I would select something different and unusual, a striking native or an amusing broccoli-like creation. Orchids and other exotics would grab my attention and I had no time for the humble snowdrop. Now though I am willing to embrace it again, to enjoy my rediscovery of it. I guess in ways too that I have settled now into my new life and am comfortable embracing the old, perhaps also it is a hint I am beginning to feel ready to start thinking about children and how I will guide them into life.