Daffodil Day arrived Thursday, heralding an early spring.
Taking my afternoon walk, I welcomed the small yellow flowers that had risen throughout the neighborhood. As I passed, I imagined them singing, nodding on their green stalks.
A strenuous older lady walked by, followed by a nanny pushing a stroller holding two sleeping babies. Then came a young mother with her small son and daughter, who headed down the nature center pathway that runs beside Nancy Creek. A couple I see often, whose names I do not know, said hello. "Spring's here," the man exclaimed. Yes, winter had already passed away, weeks before the new season's official arrival.
Before leaving my house wearing just a summertime golf shirt, I'd been reading Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway," which begins with people walking in a London park on a balmy June morning in 1923. The sorrow of the Great War shadows them.
Putin's invasion of Ukraine added to the presence of Woolf's characters. As Woolf's generation did 100 years ago, we act out our daily lives in the crescent of history.
The beauty of the spring morning, the flowers Mrs. Dalloway purchases for a party she's giving that evening, the joy of events like a car passing that might hold the prime minister or the queen and the sighting of an "aeroplane" writing messages in the sky, are tinged with sadness. All of them alive then are gone now, as we will be.
At home, I saw that the tulip tree in our front yard was again arrayed with white blossoms. The flowers used to come in early March, but now appear in February. Already, the wind had blown some of petals down, lying on the roof and on the ground like snow.