We bought our house five years ago without ever seeing much of the property. It was February and the slopes were too icy to allow us to examine the hills or meadows, but as we stood in the driveway and looked over the view, we all saw possibilities.
"If we buy this house," said my son, "we'll have to buy a four-wheeler."
"If we buy this house," said my husband, "we can plant a garden--a big one."
"If we buy this house," said I, "I'll plant daffodils right there along the curve of the driveway."
We bought the house. We bought a four-wheeler. We planted a garden--a bigger one every year. And every spring we have daffodils exactly where I wanted them--but I didn't plant them.
I don't know much about the woman who planted them except that she lived in our house for 40 years and raised horses, but I know what she planted: forsythia, rhododendrons, redbuds, and dozens and dozens of daffodils, one flower deer won't eat. The first year the daffodils were a wonderful surprise springing up exactly where I wanted them, but as we've cleared the thick brush in the woods along the driveway, more and more daffodils have popped up where we've never seen them before.
I think of that woman kneeling with a trowel in her hand to tuck bulbs into the soil just where I wanted them and I want to thank her, but I don't know where she went after she sold our house and the house changed hands three times in the six years after she left. I wish for her a gift of daffodils at least as nice as the gift she's given me.