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
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.
~ William Wordsworth
The unexpected loveliness of an extravagant Creator
by Rebekah Choat
I have to confess that I’ve never seen ten thousand daffodils at a glance; where I come from, bluebonnets are the thing.
It’s a south/east/central Texas tradition to drive out to see the bluebonnets this time of year. These wildflowers bloom in reckless profusion in untended meadows and vacant lots and along roadsides for a few weeks in March and April. My parents, brothers, grandmothers, great-aunt and I did the tour the last several springs of my teenage years, driving two or three hours north, stopping every so often to take pictures of the most spectacular stands. My daughters and I have done it twice in recent years. There’s much beauty to be found, if you know where to look and are willing and able to take the time.
But the serendipity Wordsworth is talking about is another thing altogether. While there is satisfaction, to be sure, in seeking out a known place of beauty, it doesn’t compare with the stab of joy that comes unbidden when we stumble into an unexpected loveliness. The one is an accomplishment, the other pure gift. Of course I have pleasant memories and pretty pictures of wildflower drives; so many, in fact, that they blur into each other a bit. But it’s the images of sudden, unsought beauty that more often flash upon my inward eye as a reminder of the extravagance of the Creator.