Before I elaborate on the above, let me ask if you have a favourite flower that warms your heart and speaks to you. Mine is the gentle but hardy snowdrop. Well-loved poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, referred to them as fairy firstlings of the year. Growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, they were my first purchase each January from the flower sales ladies near the City Hall. I missed seeing them while living in Ontario, but planted bulbs after moving to the milder west coast. My December 1st annual ritual was delighting that they were visible above the ground. Spring was on its way!
I didn't question my 'why' until years later, when the question was asked during a workshop ... and answering 'just because' was not acceptable! To me, the snowdrop, like the emerging springtime, symbolizes hope, courage and bravery. It looks fragile, with its flower hanging by a mere thread, yet it knows when to 'rise again', like the Mexican proverb that is a metaphor of hope for life: "They thought they had buried us under the ground, but they didn't know we were seeds."
Now, to answer how the snowdrop was one of my greatest teachers: Later, when sharing the workshop program and my response with a long-time friend, he immediately said: "Of course, they are shy and humble, even the way they hang their heads". Vehemently I denied that that was my personal image, insisting that I related more to the sturdy, upright crocus. My ego had risen to the fore and I had been swayed by another's opinion of how I wanted to be perceived, forgetting the wisdom of psychologist, Abraham Maslow, that we must become, "independent of the good opinion of others". The journey since that insight has been one of continuing personal and spiritual growth, that included Rev. Terry Cole Whittaker's insightful book, What You Think of Me is None of My Business! While all of Nature is magnificent, the gentle snowdrop was one of my greatest teachers of a significant life lesson, and personally continues to symbolize hope, courage and bravery.
In a lighter vein, as we approach St. Patrick's Day with its many shades of green, for the first time in over seven years of Innisfree's messages, I share a recipe that is fitting for the day, which was found by a friend in an Ontario used bookstore, and that I submitted to our local newspaper. Celtic Chicken is marinated in Irish Mist liqueur. Illustration shows chicken complemented by Irish Soda Bread, along with snowdrops from my garden. Enjoy!
Celtic Chicken (serves 4 – 6)
My recipe was complemented with Irish Soda Farls, (which I’ve been making for years, mostly ‘by guess and by golly’, and not by specific measurement).
Irish Soda Farls (griddle bread cut in triangle shapes)
I wish you a delightful St. Patrick's Day. May you enjoy the lilting music, perhaps dance a jig, or sway to a slow waltz, and may you continue to be inspired by whatever warms your heart. Please know with me that we are each beautiful works in progress, supporting one another, as we continue to evolve and grow. How great it is! Until next time ... Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada