February 29, 2024

Mother Nature is a shameless flirt


           What do three robins, four purple martins and a few million daffodils have in common?

            I discovered the answer last weekend.

I’ll tell you as soon as I swallow two Advils.

            OK, I’m back.

            The answer is Mother Nature is a shameless flirt.

Some February mornings, we had to scrape ice off our windshields. But by mid-afternoon, the mercury was bumping 70 degrees. “Ahhh, spring is almost here,” we say.

We know better.

Still, we grab our shovels to dig in the dirt.

Besides, how can you sit inside on such beautiful days? For me, it’s because I had ignored those cccccccold wintery days that sometimes chill us in March. Snow even.

On Feb. 23, I couldn’t stand it any longer.

After watching three robins scratch for worms and four purple martins check out their condo on a pole, I got antsy. But what really tipped me over the edge were all those millions of yellow blooming daffodils in yards and along the highways.

I like daffodils.

But wait a minute.

Those are jonquils.

Might be.

One source explained, “Daffodils are typically lightly scented while jonquils are highly perfumed.” I haven’t ever conducted a sniff test.

Is it tomatoes or “ta-mott-toes?”

I choose to eat tomatoes and pick daffodils. Let the botanists have the jonquil debate.

But what’s Mother Nature got to do with it?

She’s like Goldilocks. When Mother Nature is good, she is very good. And when Mother Nature is bad, she is very bad. Just look how California to New England has suffered this winter. Those poor folks haven’t had time to sniff jonquils or daffodils.

We’re lucky that Mother Nature has been kinder to us in Georgia.

On a surprisingly warm February afternoon, a friend must have read my mind. “How’d you like some daffodils?” he asked.


“Come with me.”

In an out-of-the-way pasture, there were thousands of daffodils. Some bunches were in full bloom. Others were just starting to show their color. A few hadn’t thought of it yet.

“It’s an old homeplace,” he said. “These daffodils have been coming back year after year for decades. Have all you want.”

With that, he grabbed a shovel and joined me in my happy digging. In about 30 minutes, we had loaded my pickup. I drove straight to the farm and started planting them. By supper, my back was barking, “You haven’t used a shovel lately, have you?”

The next day, my friend invited me again. This time, I was digging alone. But I had an audience—about 25 cows—encircling me. The bull moseyed over to my truck and took a sniff. He didn’t offer an opinion whether I was digging jonquils or daffodils. But he seemed to smile, suggesting that he and his harem had donated plenty of organic fertilizer to make the flowers so beautiful.

By sundown—on a second sunny day—all the daffodils were relocated. My back was barking again. Both mornings, I had scraped ice off my windshield. And the weather folks are predicting that the freezing nights aren’t over yet.

Mother Nature.

She’s a shameless flirt. She can be a goddess one day and a witch the next.

But I’m not complaining.

We’re blessed—thanks to a friend—with a plethora of bright yellow daffodils.

Come on, robins and purple martins.

With shovel in hand, I’m ready for spring.

And as for my aching back, there’s always Advil.