Saturday, April 9, 2011

Renegade daffodils

Daffodils are one of my favorite spring flowers. There is something necessary and immediate in the yellowness of the flowers. Like they are mimicking the sun in shape, hue, and feeling -- after a long, cold, bleak winter, daffodils are just the cure for a winter-weary soul.

Daffodils (and all narcissus) grow from bulbs that have to be placed wherever they should grow -- they do not sprout from seeds. The bulbs divide each year, creating a larger and larger grouping of flowers from year to year. They should be dug up every few years and spread out to keep them from overcrowding. (That was a little "Daffodil 101" for those who don't know flowers or gardening.)

Most people grow their daffodils in gardens or plant them to line the edge of walkways. I love a walk that is lined with the sunshiny-yellow blossoms -- I think it is one of the most welcoming sights. But have you ever noticed a bunch of daffodils growing off by themselves in some random location? I call these "renegade daffodils." 

Many people in Shamgona have daffodils in their gardens, but there are also more renegade daffodils in the village than I have seen anywhere in the U.S. Along the river, in the ditches, at the edges of hazelnut orchards, in the middle of fields and meadows, in the middle of bombed-out concrete structures -- renegade daffodils are everywhere. 

Today while I was out for my long run, I looked at the runaways and wondered how in the world they got there. Since the flowers don't grow from seeds, no bird dropped the seed as it winged its way through the air. I imagined the flowers moving of their own accord like in one particular sci-fi movie that I used to watch with my dad when I was young -- "Creature Double-Feature" was always a Saturday afternoon favorite, and in one of the films often played, the trees could move around on their own. Maybe the daffodils can do the same. Or maybe a cow pulled up the bulb by the greens, munched the leaves down to the top of the bulb while meandering along, dropped the bulb, and stepped on it, pushing it to just the right depth underground. Or maybe it was the pigs. They up-root everything -- but they eat everything they up-root. And I'm not sure that the bulb would actually grow after being pulverized by gnashing teeth, digested, and passed. 

I spent at least an hour trying to figure out how in the world the bulbs got transplanted into such random places. I still don't know.

My run today took me out of my village and into another that is on the way to Zugdidi. I have run that way every weekend since adding a long run to my weekend routine, and the villagers there are beginning to become as accustomed to me passing by as the Shamgona villagers are by now. Today, after turning around at the end of the road and heading back, I was flagged down by yells from behind me. I turned to see a teenage-girl running toward me, waving both arms for me to stop. I did, and I waited for her to catch up to me. She was all smiles, and greeted me in English. She asked if she could run with me. Of course I said yes. We talked as we ran -- well, jogged at pace that she could keep -- with her little English and my little Georgian -- we asked each other's names, where we each live, how old we are, and about our families. She jogged with me for about ten minutes, and then she started getting tired. She asked if my house was still far -- I said yes (it was about 30 minutes up the road yet), so she kissed me on the cheek, said goodbye, and turned to go back home. 

As I watched her jog back to her house in her bright pink jacket, yellow scarf, and giant yellow and black sparkly headband, I thought -- "a renegade daffodil!" She certainly split off from the Georgians who normally line the road and wave and say hello as I pass by. Away from the group, she did her own thing -- went her own way -- on her own two legs. 

Maybe daffodils have legs......

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