I gathered this spring’s first batch of daffodils yesterday. Five little blossoms – one open, four still cocooned away inside their protective covering – all living beneath my bedroom window on the south side of my house. This group is always the first to emerge each year as they are in a prime position to soak in the late afternoon sun, yet stay protected from the worst of the seasonal winds. In other words, they got it good.
The other group – the ones that run along the fence on the east side of the front yard – they’ll be along in another week or two, flashing their sunshine smiles at the passing cars as they bask and bathe in the morning sun. This patch that runs the length of my 40’ side fence will be seen by many; whereas the first batch of five will be seen and enjoyed only by me.
In our society we often equate “more” with “better”. The more you own, the more you’re worth. The more you sell, the more you have. It’s created a society that honors “more for one” over “some for all”.
My whole life I’ve been a “sharer”. If I get, I give. If I receive, I pass it on. I keep a portion for myself and then find a way to bless someone else with what I’ve been given. I do it with flowers, with money, with food, with my photographs – I basically do it with everything. It is an inherent part of my genetic makeup that I was reminded of when I took an autumn leaf into my mother while she was in the hospital this past fall. I handed her a beautiful oak leaf and she looked at my dad and said, “Look, Jack…she’s still bringing us leaves.” She then recounted how I couldn’t be outside for long as a child without running up to hand her a flower, a leaf, a rock, or a caterpillar. I delighted in the outdoors as a child and I wanted everyone to see – and share – in the items I delighted in.
So it’s no wonder that when I picked up a camera ten years ago that I would eventually decide to photograph nature and then give away my prints for free. You like this one? Please, take it. Have it framed. Smile when you walk by it every day. It brings me joy to bring you joy.
“More for one” is a fine concept – it rewards the doers of the world for doing what they do – and that’s all well and good. I’m glad to have that tiny bouquet of daffodils sitting on my kitchen counter this morning, staring back at me as I prepare a pan of lasagna to take over to my father later today. Those five blossoms will bring me great joy as I reflect on the coming spring this morning. But it’s the 40 feet of daffodils that are still a week or two away that will really light my heart up because I’ll know that every car that passes by, every person that walks my street, every mother that pushes her newborn in a stroller – they will all pause and think “Isn’t that a joy to see!”
Some people delight in the richness that comes from money. I choose, instead, to delight in the richness that comes from passing on a little joy to others. At 56, it seems a little too late to change that now…but what about you?