A host of golden daffodils

There’s a patch of wild daffodils beneath the spreading oaks on a berm near my gaff in Tauranga. Unremarkable, but kind of special to me.
They’re my own Punxsutawney Phil – the Pennsylvania groundhog. If he leaves his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and can see his shadow, the town gets six more weeks of winter. If he can’t, then Punxsutawney gets an early spring.

All the locals put on top hats and tuxedos and trek to Gobbler’s Knob to wait for Phil to emerge and give them a nod either way. Not sure of Phil’s success rate, but it’s still a weird but wonderful view of reality. Why do you need a seasonal clock, or calendar, or met service, if you have a tame ground hog?
My daffodil patch is a much more pragmatic.
The patch is regularly scalped by the council mowing contractor. Then, one day when I drive past, it’s not scalped. And the daffodils stems have burst skyward.
The stems are signal enough, I don’t need the blooms to remind me Vernal Equinox has, or is about to, arrive. Vernal Equinox – sounds like a distinguished matron from the country manor.
Of course she – Vernal that is - is the first day of spring.
It’s a little complicated, because most of us celebrate, or observe, the first day of spring on September 1. We like nice tidy three month blocks of seasons. But the spring equinox here in the southern hemisphere corresponds to Saturday, September 23.
It’s only twice a year the earth’s axis is tilted neither towards nor away from the sun resulting in equal amounts of daylight and darkness at all latitudes. These are the equinoxes that happen in September or spring and again in autumn.
Either way, the daffodil stems and dear ‘Vernal’ lift us all out of the winter gloom – out of the damp, the depression, the lethargy, the irritability.
The brain gets a blast of serotonin – nature’s happy juice. And suddenly we are surrounded by new birth, new growth and new hope. Spring has sprung. I feel better already. I will send some of my daffs to celebrate.


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