Ode to the daffodil – a giver of light.
By Alfred Poole
Every spring in my city of Seattle, Washington, hundreds of children, adults and seniors take to the downtown streets and neighborhood centers with one task in mind: to freely give everyone they meet a daffodil and smile.
Unlike the hundreds of religious pamphlets, political treatises, and many product samples that are given away, daffodils are almost never rejected or discarded. Even strangers to the custom, or untrusting personalities, find it difficult to resist the flower’s allure. For this humble yet magnificent flower is always the bearer of light, God’s gift to all of us to freely enjoy and embrace.
The daffodil’s qualities and life lessons are extraordinary. The flower can take root almost anywhere, rising on its seemingly vulnerable slender green stem in dark places, and unfriendly city sidewalks, as well as gardens all over. Everywhere they bloom, they demonstrate the courage and willingness to take whatever risk necessary to accomplish its task of shedding it wonderful light. Its strength of purpose is overwhelming and unmistakable: to give hope when none seems apparent, joy to the joyless and renewed vigor to take on life’s many challenges. Simply by its existence the daffodil propels us to try again, respect nature and all that is truly wonderful about life, and treat our Mother Earth better.
What is so utterly amazing is that all the characteristics of the daffodil probably reside in someone you know. While we often are moved to comment on the beauty of nature, we frequently fail to acknowledge the givers of light that walk among us brightening our days, freely dispensing hope, joy and a commitment to the marvelous gifts of earth God has given.
For me, that person would be Karuna Poole whose gift of light I have experienced for over half my life. Like the daffodil her light has been shared unconditionally and courageously to all; from homeless people on the street of Seattle and migrant farm workers, to students at the University of Washington, colleagues and neighbors. One only has to preview her blog, Living Learning and Letting Go, to see her commitment to sharing the light of nature, God’s love, and respect for humankind. Moreover she has used this medium to share her own experiences as a therapist to help others get the help that they need.
Life for the givers of light is no easier than for the rest of us, yet even during the worst of times, Karuna’s light, like the daffodil, refuses to die. She returns from each crisis in her life with renewed vigor like the daffodils in spring. Her greatest gift, and the one I am sure she is most proud of, is having passed the gift of light on to her children Sreejit and Chaitanya who have in turn devoted their lives to sharing it with the world.
I am blessed and privilege to be able to acknowledge this “Ode to Karuna” on Mother’s day and encourage others to acknowledge the light sources in their own lives that help make life so livable.
Al Poole is figuring out retirement after a lifetime in social service, including most recently 10 years running the Homelessness Intervention & Block-Grant Administration for the city of Seattle.
Written for the On Living and Dying series. If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: 365 Days On Living and Dying. But first, leave a comment and let Al know how you feel about what he said. Then you can find other posts he’s written here: Al Poole
Featured image by Karuna Poole