No. 305

Somewhere along the “Rim-Of-The-World” road in the San Bernardino Mountain Range in Southern California there is a spectacular event that takes place for three weeks of each year. This is when a mountainside literally comes ablaze with five acres of beautiful daffodils. This special spot of God’s green earth is known as the “Daffodil Garden” and what is more amazing is that the entire garden was planted by one person, one bulb at a time over a period of thirty five years.
Here is a very vivid description of this garden as seen through the eyes of a very talented, but unidentified writer. She says, “Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils.
The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon, yellow, salmon pink, saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety, (I later learned that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in this vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowered in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils.”
After viewing the garden for a little while the writer and her daughter continued down the path that led to the house of the lady who had planted the garden. It was a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. She continues, “On the patio we saw a poster. “Answers To Questions I Know You Are Asking.” The first answer, “50,000 bulbs”, The second answer, “One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet and very little brain.” The third answer, “Began in 1958.”
At this point the writer, a lady, thought to herself, “There it is, THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE.” It was truly a life changing experience. A woman she had never met, who, more than thirty five years before had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. This principle is embodied in these simple facts. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts, simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks out of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, has changed the world.
As you reflect on what I have shared by this wonderful unknown writer, here is the unmistakable point that we should each consider. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find that we can accomplish magnificent things. It is pointless however, to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson: a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use tomorrow?’
The lesson this lady has left for us that should be taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration; learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, often just one baby step at a time, learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. This true story is really something to dwell on as we think about our own lives and what we will leave behind for future generations to enjoy. It has been summarized as the “Daffodil Principle” but in reality this is just a way to remember it. It is amazing what one person can do if they are totally committed. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)