Daffodils for Dharma

Through the loss of a childhood dream, I learned to find beauty in grief.

Sarah Olson Michel
9 min readAug 14, 2021
Photo by Beth Jnr on Unsplash

Every spring, daffodils come bursting through the cold, hard dirt of winter to reveal their yellow flowers like long-awaited sunshine after the snow. They are so irresistibly beautiful that the scientific name for wild daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, references the Greek myth of the man who fell in love with his own reflection and was turned into a flower by the gods. Surely only a flower as beautiful as the daffodil would do for a man like Narcissus.

Here in Oregon, where the wild daffodils make their beloved appearance each year, it’s easy to be enchanted by them. Daffodils arrive like magic, reminding us of new life born in spring as our world transitions from the dark sleep of winter toward the promise of longer, warmer days. But this year, daffodils gained a different meaning for me.

For several weeks in March the yellow flowers greeted me every morning as I arrived at the horse farm where I work. I fed hay and grain, mucked stalls, put the horses out in the pastures, and drove a tractor around doing my chores. The daffodils waved their delicate heads at me as I worked. I did my best to ignore them, choking down the lump that grew in my throat when I failed.