Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The daisy-chain gang

The April showers did their job.

May flowers are everywhere -- in every field, every orchard, every yard, every garden, every nook and cranny of backyard, front yard, and side yard is dotted with wildflowers. Buttercups, mini-daisies, chickweed, dandelions, and several others whose names I don't know blanket the ground in specks of purple, yellow, and white.

What is it about wildflowers that little girls can't resist? (Or big ones, for that matter, myself included.) Almost everyday since the flowers started blooming, I have been handed at least one handful of flowers by the girls at school -- and a few times, by some of the junior high boys (cuties!). Daffodils, narcissus, camilias, mimosa, violets, tulips, daisies, buttercups, calla lilies, and most recently, azaleas -- all have been gifts held out to me by little hands. I receive these beautiful gifts everywhere I go -- at school, when I walk down the street, when students come to the house for English lessons, and when I am out for a run. (A week ago, while on my run, one of my fifth-grade girls handed me a gorgeous bouquet of fuchsia azaleas that was bigger than my head. It made the run back home interesting!) I always gush over the gift, and the shining eyes and beaming smiles of the giver glow with an unabashed radiance.

This week, the shape of the flower-gifts has changed. Instead of bouquets beautiful enough to be carried by a bride, with stems tied together tightly with bits of thread, string or plastic bags, the girls have started weaving the flowers into chains of all lengths. Today I wore a buttercup necklace for much of the day. Daisy or buttercup crowns, bracelets, and necklaces adorn many of the girls at school.

After school or during their ten-minute breaks between classes, groups of girls gather on the grassy lawns with piles of flowers in their midst. Their chatter moves as fast as their nimble little fingers, splitting the stems and carefully threading the next stem through. On and on, they weave their chains of blossoms. Love and generosity gets interlaced with them.

I love seeing them sitting cross-legged in their striped tights and black skirts, sweaters often a clashing color or striped differently from their tights. They look like rainbows that have taken human shape and plopped onto the ground (and who else would a rainbow be but a grade-school girl?). The rainbows and piles of wildflowers sitting in the emerald sea of grass is dazzling. They are the daisy-chain gang. They sing out a happy, "Hello!" when I pass nearby, and if I am lucky, I'm the recipient of their labor.....

....a chain of flowers and love.

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