Memories are funny things. Sometimes they pop in and out of your mind, other times they linger or stew, and one may play over and over and over and over like a song that’s playing on repeat. Still other days they tumble in all at once, having sprung from dusty hope chests of images and conversations that you had tucked away long ago. Certain ones bring an unconscious smile to your lips, others cause tears to well up in your eyes.
The past week-and-a-half has given me many opportunities to reflect on 29 years worth of memories that were created by and center around my grandparents, specifically Grandpa. Sights, sounds, smells, holding trinkets and clothing and visiting with friends and family have all ushered in a myriad of mental snapshots that remind me of how much we loved each other.
Then tonight a poem that I first read during my senior year of high school lodged itself in my brain. Its beautiful imagery has always stuck with me, despite the fact that I haven’t read it in years. Since I’ve remembered it solely in its literal context, I’d always thought that it dealt with flowers. That’s why tonight I found it odd that it attached itself to the tail end of today’s long session of reminiscing about Grandpa. It wouldn’t leave my mind, so I looked it up and read it once again. I’m so glad that I did. When placed in the context of my current, on-going stroll down memory lane, I see that the poem constructs a metaphor for all of the beautiful things that comprise our happiness. Thankfully, at just a moment’s notice – no matter the place or time – we can turn our thoughts inward, remember and gain strength from the memories that they create.
The poem was written by William Wordsworth and is titled “Daffodils.”
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
I’ve included below some of my daffodils in no particular order… Je t’aime, Grandpa.