This is something I wrote a few years ago about Spring in Paris.
Spring in Paris
Ah, spring in Paris, and soon, Easter. There are no blue skies as I write this, the first day of spring, but gray skies threatening rain and a rather brisk wind. I’m starting to see little stuffed Easter bunnies in the shop windows which brings a smile to my lips and then I remember how, although the French may have a cute bunny in a window, they will also go home and have rabbit with mustard sauce, and, perhaps, a little thyme for their dinner along with a great Bordeaux.
But, still, they really â€œdo upâ€ spring in a great way in Paris. Along with frolicking bunnies I am seeing amazing chocolate in candy stores and patisseries. They are in every imaginable shape: from giant egg shapes and rabbits, to little circus animals and even some crocodile shapes. After egg shapes the most popular shape seems to be fish, often with a ribbon wrapped around the middle. They all look too pretty to eat but my husband’s grandchildren each received a huge chocolate egg that they immediately broke open to find a variety of candy inside â€” each tasting better than the next. I, of course, helped them sample the treats inside. Easter has become rather like Halloween here, as in the States, where children run around after getting their holiday candy in an ecstasy of a sugar high.
The herald of spring here is the daffodil. Several weeks ago I noticed men on street corners selling beautiful bouquets of yellow daffodils. I wanted to buy one, as they look so cheerful after a long winter, but my husband said, “You know, you can go into a forest near Paris and pick those. Why don’t we go get our own?” It sounded like a fun idea to me and that afternoon we headed outside Paris and in thirty minutes we were there. As we pulled into the little parking lot I saw a lot of people each holding huge bouquets and I thought there was no way there could be any left for us. We headed into the forest still dripping water from a recent rain and our shoes were soon caked with mud as we jumped over streams and made our way around natural ponds. In about ten minutes I saw our first daffodil looking very small and delicate. There were no King Alfred’s growing here. Before long I could see huge groups of little yellow heads sticking up everywhere looking like yellow stars against the dark trees. I am such a city mouse that I am always delighted, and a little surprised, to see something I usually buy in a store growing in the wild. They were very easy to pick, breaking off easily at the base of the stem and we soon had a large bouquet. They were many, many flowers left and I could see groups of them everywhere. When we got home I put them in a vase of water and it gave me such a cheerful feeling every time I saw them sitting on my table. After this excursion I got to thinking of Wordsworth’s poem about daffodils and had to go look it up. His words describe many of the feelings I felt when I saw my own crowd of daffodils in the forest.
I wander’d 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 stretch’d 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
Out-did 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.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Hmm, for some reason I have no photos of daffodils. I’ll have to keep a lookout.