Someone wrote me today to ask permission to use a photo from my blog on a CD cover. (Yes, of course.) The CD is a fundraising project for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The CD will be called "Hope Springs." Now, it's just a picture of a daffodil, but it does happen to be a daffodil blooming in early January, unlikely hope against the bleak midwinter.
What I didn't say at the time--please keep this to yourself--is that I think this flower is a freak. It's one of a couple of dozen bulbs of this type that I planted years ago. Mostly, they never came up at all. Not at once anyway. Every year a few of them show some greenery with no flower, even fewer (different ones each year) with the flower. And when they do bloom, it's always way out of season, even for a variety called "Early Sensation." So there's no way you should try it yourself at home. It's a freak, a fluke of nature.
In a short story by John Edgar Wideman, a man goes to visit his brother in prison. The brother, looking to the day when he will get out, recalls a story he has told many times. Once when his girlfriend was visiting, out in a courtyard by the prison wall they watched a leaf as it fell slowly, gently out of a tree. After much suspense about which way it would go, it wafted out to freedom. "Couldn't help taking the leaf as a sign." But this time, he slyly tells his brother "something I don't tell nobody when I tell about the leaf. The dumb thing blew back in here again."
The story is called "All Stories Are True."
On the other hand, I note that the daffodil is a symbol that Marie Curie Cancer Care uses all the time. Maybe they were just looking for another picture of one.