Snowdrops are a delightful sight in February. They give a bright feel to mossy grounds which sparks a little joy on a grey day. These flowers are known to have approximately 20 variations of species and can grow up to 30cm tall. The botanical name is Galanthus, gala in Greek means “milk” and anthos, meaning “flower”(Wikipedia.org).
Although they are cultivated far and wide it is thought that they are native to eastern Europe. It is believed that many soldiers of the Crimean War brought small bundles of these bulbs back to Britain, but were first documented in Botanical text in the 16th century (www.nhm.ac.uk). Today they are cherished and there are dedicated Snowdrop Gardens open throughout the UK.
The snowdrops delicate nature has attracted the attention of many poets. Emily Dickinson, the garden lover, often uses metaphors to describe elements of nature. In the poem “I taste a liquor never brewed” she is giving praise to her garden, “drunk” on the intoxication of scent, beauty and botanical skills in cultivation. She uses metaphor to convey feelings, in my opinion, of her joy in the garden. I love the last stanza as she refers to the “seraphs” (a variety of snowdrop) as they “swing their snowy hats”.
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days –
From inns of Molten Blue –
When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” –
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!
By Emily Dickinson.
William Wordsworth also thought of these little white flowers as angelic. In his poem “On seeing a tuft of snowdrops in a storm”, he uses words such as “faithful and immortal”.
When haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
Mature release, in fair society
Survive, and Fortune’s utmost anger try;
Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
And nod their helmets smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirlblast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers! if small to great
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band,
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove’s command,
Might overwhelm, but could not separate!
By William Wordsworth.
Dailypost – Winter’s Delicate Flower
Photographs by Medicinalmeadows.com
My town and its surrounding areas have been plagued by floods this winter. Movement from town to town is restricted as rainfall causes problems to roads, cars, and rail travel. It seems to be raining for a season. My recollection of previous winters has been cold mornings with frost covered lawns and a wind that slaps your face with a chilling sting. If wet, lingering rain and floods are to be our depths of winter then we are certainly not prepared. The ground is not prepared as no drainage is available and waterways are not viable. The foliage is not resting as trees and flora remain green. I wonder what fauna make of all this weather? What effect is this environmental change having on the animal life?
In our current ways of living we know the effects of stress, lack of sleep and tiredness. Will the earth rest less, will wildlife struggle to maintain their habitats? And will spring come with a leap, or will lethargy remain in all things. I dearly hope that with the return of the early sunrise and brighter skies the earth will regain its step, light will rekindle all souls and rhythm will balance once more.
As we toast to the New Year may we collectively think of all
those effected by weather change and displacement. So as the clocks chime to the start 2016 may we all think of those working, volunteering and coping. May all our hearts send goodwill to all people and to our home this planet we share, call earth.
For WPC: Now
For WPC: Gathering
The darkened spruce
In the forest park
Stretching to heights
To reach the skylark
The cones and the ferns
Fallen to ground
Of greenest foreground
The smell of the pines
Tell of winter perfumes
Of earthy emotions
Till daylight resumes