The Daffodil Principle

*received this in an email and thought it in the “wows” category, so I share it with you.  Perhaps it will mean as much to you as it did to me…

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you  must come to see the daffodils before they are over.”  I wanted to go, but  it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead “I will come next Tuesday”, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday  dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there.  When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds  of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

“Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds  and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled  calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.”   “Well, you  won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I  assured her. But first we’re  going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive.  I’m used to this.”   “Carolyn,” I said sternly, “Please turn around.”  “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small  gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a  hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, ” Daffodil Garden .”  We got  out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path.  Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most  glorious sight.


It looked as though someone  had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and  its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling  patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white,  lemoyellow, salmon pink, and saffron and  butter yellow. Each  different colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled  and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five  acres of flowers.

“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn.   “Just one woman,” Carolyn answered.   “She lives on the property.  That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small  and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the  house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions  I Know You Are Asking”, was the headline. The first answer was a simple  one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by  one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

For me, that moment was a life-changing  experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than  forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision  of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a  time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world  in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of  extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her  daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of  celebration.


That is, learning  to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one  baby-step at time–and learning to love the doing, learning to use the  accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small  increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish  magnificent things. We can change the world …

“It makes me sad  in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I  had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or  years ago and had  worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just  think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My daughter  summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way.

“Start  tomorrow,” she said. She was right. It’s so pointless to think of  the lost hours of yesterdays.  The way to make learning a lesson of  celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put  this to use today?”

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop  waiting…..

Until your car or home is paid off
Until  you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the  house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish  school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize  the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you  lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get  married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you  retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until  winter
Until fall
Until you die…

There is no  better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not  a destination.

So work like you don’t need money.

Love like you’ve never been  hurt, and, Dance like no one’s watching.

Wishing  you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Don’t be afraid that your life  will end, be afraid that it will never begin.


12 thoughts on “The Daffodil Principle

  1. Sweet!

    And it reminds me that it’s just about time to buy spring bulbs for planting next month, and divide my own daffodils.

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