Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paperwhites: Winter's Lagniappe

I have always loved Paperwhites, and they are just beginning to bloom here in Mississippi. I spotted a bed of Paperwhites yesterday and couldn't resist capturing them with my camera. Although the recent ice storm had taken its toll on most of the blooms, there were a couple of flowers that were standing tall in the early morning sunshine.

Paperwhites have a very special place in my heart. My husband and I were married when we were in college, and lived in a small garage apartment near the school. Without fail, every Friday afternoon when I got out of class, I would go home and clean that little apartment from top to bottom, including waxing the wood floors.

After I finished cleaning, I would walk down the street a couple of blocks to a vacant lot where there were some Paperwhites scattered around an old home site. I would cut some of the flowers, take them home, and arrange them in one of our "wedding-gift-vases," and you'd have thought I had created a masterpiece worthy of the pages of "Southern Living" magazine. I loved walking around that tiny apartment, smelling the heavenly fragrance of the Paperwhites and admiring my shiny floors and clean house (all four rooms of it!).

To this day, every time I see or smell Paperwhites, they take me back to those days when I was a very young and happy new bride. I'd like to think that the owner of that vacant lot wouldn't have minded me "borrowing" some of the flowers, if he knew how happy they made me.

I love the way the centers of the flowers in the next picture look as if they're glowing. They remind me of the song, "This Little Light of Mine" ...

Paperwhites are members of the Narcissus family, which is typically associated with Daffodils and Jonquils. Paperwhites are smaller, but what they lack in size, they make up for in fragrance and charm — and what bright and beautiful lagniappe these pretty little white clusters of flowers bring to our Mississippi landscapes in the middle of winter.


racheld said...

oh, Janie, what memories!!! That Friday-cleaning custom mimics my own in the tiny house we had when the children were coming along---I just told someone this week that I would take everything in the LR out onto the lawn and porch EVERY Saturday (save for the couch and piano) and wax those old dark creaky floors.

I clipped little bouquets from everything in the yard---holly berries, pear blossoms, jonquils, and even a lush branch from the big ole Jimminy Cricket rosebush, whose dark maroon petals lasted only a day before spilling onto the tablecloth.

And for scent---I remember a vanilla potpourri, when the only scents we could get were Spice and Lemon. I "refreshed" the crumbles of rose petals and hunks of pinecone from the Watkins bottle for years.

How lovely to think of you, so young and earnest and proud of your home, walking home clutching that handful of those ethereal, heaven-scented blooms.


Loui♥ said...

Rachael said it all so well..
same story here..
back when we were young and so ful of dreams..
now that I'm a senior, the dreams are memories..and those paperwhites do take me back to those days..
loved them both then and now!!
thanks for the exquisite photos..
and wonderful memories..
warmest hugs..

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, what a wonderful word picture you painted in addition to the beautiful pictures of the paperwhites!

I can just see you in your garage apartment, cleaning, and decorating with the paperwhites, waiting for your young husband to come home! Loved reading this. It really took me back, too.

I think one of my favorite things about the South is to drive past some vacant lot and see either paperwhites or jonquils growing around what used to be a home site. It's as if they are saying, "Gone, but not forgotten."

Thank you for this lagniappe!


Sheila :-)

Tonja said...

There are quite a few places here out a little way from town. You will see the remains of a chimney, or some steps, and little patches of daffodils of paperwhites. It always makes me think about how fleeting life is. Someone lived here and carried on a life here and attempted to make the world a more beautiful place by planting flowers. And, the bricks and the flowers are the only things left.

Great post.