“I never saw daffodils so beautiful”

In Grasmere it’s easy to see why Wordsworth wrote about nature so much. The landscape of the Lake District is staggeringly dramatic: the skies often gray and misty, the rolling hills and mountains covered with grasses green and brown, and the occasional bare-branched tree. It is a land that envelops one in a sweeping embrace. At the same time, there is a brooding quality that can feel oppressive at moments. Looking through the window during the bus ride to Grasmere and then in my hotel room once we arrived, all I could think was, “Where is the sky?”

This feeling subsided when I started to walk around. As I looked down I discovered that hidden inside the overwhelming monumental appearance of the landscape were all kinds of beautiful, bright flowers. Perhaps most common were daffodils, which are everywhere in Grasmere. Yet even to Dorothy Wordsworth, who must have been accustomed to seeing daffodils, they were a delight:

“I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them.” (Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal, 85)

These flowers were cheery faces amid the gray and damp.

 

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