As everyone knows, the best gifts are those that are unexpected. And the best unexpected gift is the gift that meets a need one isn't aware of having.
Arriving home at 9:30 one night after a marathon day of teaching, I pulled into my drive and stepped on to the porch, laden down with books and thoughts of the hours of work that still lay between me and sleep. Under the porch-light I stopped and set down my books, because something was out of place. Or, more accurately, something was in place that should not have been there. Shining daffodils, gathered into a cup, turned their faces up to me from the small table by the door. I saw daffodils with long yellow cups and flaring petals, reddish-orange cups and smooth white perianths, crimped cups, blush petals, pheasant’s eyes, mop heads. They smelled like Paradise.
It was a message from the world, saying “You’ve been away too long. Come back to us! Come back!”
My kind-hearted neighbor Stephen S. left them there for my husband and me. He works long hours in his own right; nevertheless, he took time out from his busy life to gather the blooms in his garden and share the bounty. Barrett Browning. Fortissimo. Mount Hood. Ice Follies. Lent Lily. Butter and Eggs.
The poet wrote, “What a fleeting glance of the everlasting/Daffodils are.” I don’t know how Steve knew it, but I needed a glance of the everlasting that night, served up in a styrofoam cup.
Hughes, Ted. “Daffodils.” Birthday Letters. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. 127. Print.