Undisturbed, the daffodils of our woods and fields would rise, shine, and fade back into dormancy until next spring like others of their species. At ThorpeWood, however, a seasonally introduced predator reinvents this usual lifecycle. This happens each time our teams of preschool explorers flood from their school buses and into our woods to hunt for natural treasures. Shimmering gold amongst the tans and greens and browns of the rest of the property, the daffodils become highly valued targets and so are plucked readily.
From here, the daffodil’s petals encircle the explorer’s inquisitive nose and are set in amongst the day’s other finds: pine cones, rocks, and maybe a small morsel of deer scat. At this point, an oft-forgotten promise of being gifted to Mama or Daddy is announced with great conviction and pleasure. The day continues and the daffodils are buried under each new discovery. At the trek’s end, the flowers are left behind as the children board the bus and head back to school with dirt hitchhiking under fingernails and in the lines of their palms.
At this point, larger hands sift through the buckets to revive the loveliest finds of the day – mostly flowers and feathers. The daffodils are thus taken from under the layer of cattail fluff and acorn caps to a new home in the barn’s tackroom. Here, two makeshift vases are arranged from local litter once retrieved from the decay of the forest floor. Sipping up well water from these vessels, the petals live on, sunshine incarnate.
After a few days, the daffodils are carried off to their next life stage in a wilted bouquet. The daffodil as we know it ends here, out in the pasture, as the goats appreciatively accept this hand-picked delicacy. From here, the flowers live on as our Flint and Arrow, fueling silliness, trickery, and all things goat.