A Family's Gift

Robert Flournoy


Copyright 2018 by Robert Flournoy   


Photo of Robert's back yard with daisies.
Photo by the author.

About sixteen years ago I threw a handful of wildflower seeds onto a small sunny slope that comes down out of the woods in our back yard.

When we bought our home in Franklin, TN, after moving here from Denver eighteen years ago, I did not realize (due to a listing error on the part of the selling realtor) that we were getting a lot that was almost three acres in size. Surrounded by a small forest of hardwoods.

I was delighted to learn that it was ours. Full of turkey, deer, owls, hawks, and hundreds of species of birds, we reveled in the spring, and fall colors while sitting on our back deck, watching the wild life gambol all around us. Our decks are over flowing with geraniums, impatience, and various other colorful flowers, and I was looking forward to the wildflowers I had “planted” blooming forth to add to the palate of red buds, dogwoods, and fruit trees that stretched away into our back yard, leading to the dark woods. The back yard is long, and wide, and mostly sunny, and when it is cut, it is a peaceful thing to look at. I cut it twice a year whether it needs it or not. Once in the late spring, and once in the late fall, when I am sure that every single leaf has fallen. I do not rake.

The spring after the flower seed flinging, we noticed some colorful buds showing their little faces above the long grass on our sunny slope, and a few blindingly white daisies, with egg yolk centers. I had never seen such beautiful daisies, and do not recall what brand I had purchased. But, they sure were pretty. So, I had the perfect excuse to put off the spring mowing until June, when the daisies had dried up, and my cutting would spread the seeds.

Over the last several years, our family has developed an anticipation of the return of our daisies. They seem to be the only species that has survived, on an annual basis, that initial planting, and they come back over a larger, and larger area every spring. Errant seeds, caught on the wind, have found their way each year to farther parts of the yard, and now we not only have a huge central patch of white, but clumps here and there that are spread out over the entire acre that is our back yard.

They are particularly beautiful when beams of sunlight filter down thru the forest trees that loom out over the open glades, each new sprouted spot calling for attention as the light slowly dances its way around the clearings.

When the daisies appear each spring, there is a light happiness in our family associated with this return. They are ours, and they bind us somehow after the gray, cold months of winter. I think they feel our love, because they seem to get bigger, and bigger every year, and they are now crowding up to our house, all around the deck, and their faces are clearly turned to where we sit to admire them.

The deer lie in them, and so do we, staring at the clouds, content, and at peace. They do not ask for anything, not even water. Like love, they are just there for us.

There is a Native American tribe in the northeastern part of the country whose totem is geese, and ducks. Each year, when they return in the spring, after migrating back to them from the cold winter, there is a celebration. They put their totems on a pole, in the center of the village. It is sacred.

Our family totem must be the daisies that return to us each year. They affirm that we are now a part of something beautiful, and lucky enough to know it.

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