Bashful Bluets

The bed of daffodils and snowdrops circling the southwest corner of my yard has followers in Hattiesburg who anticipate any sign of spring. As they tire of winter, friends who haven’t made it by my corner of a busy Hattiesburg street, want to know. “Are the daffodils out yet?” The dazzling daffodils and sparkling snowdrops bring anticipation on those final gray days preceding spring. My friends watch for them.

The showy flowers lead me to look for a smaller omen of spring closer to the ground. When daffodils bloom, I look for bluets. Some may tell you they are weeds. In a generous mood, they might elevate them to wildflowers. Bluets make their home on roadsides, open fields, or in the first green growth on the lawn. Usually, you have to pay attention to see them. Even Mama, who put gifts of dandelions in vases, couldn’t find containers small enough for the bluet offerings we brought. They wasted away on the counter until she threw them out.

As a child I developed a lifelong love for their tiny delicate blue to white blossoms with a hint of red or purple along the edges. They signaled the time to start asking Mama if we could go barefoot. The coolest mama in North Mississippi was the one who was first to allow her children to shed their shoes to play in the yard. Mama was never interested in being the coolest. (This applied to other issues as well.) “The ground is not warm enough yet,” she would say. My sisters and I never figured out what the standard temperature was for bare feet, and we often wondered if we were going to be the very last to have our feet released from their bonds. We did know the bluets signaled the time we could take turns asking the daily question, “May we go barefoot today?”

No longer worried about going barefoot, I still keep my eye to the ground when the daffodils bloom. I look for the tiny bluets hidden away among the sprouting spring grass.

In a bit of serendipity yesterday after writing this blog, a huge patch of them burst into my line of vision as I left my book club meeting at Oak Grove Public Library. They spread across the right-of-way between the parking lot and the highway – not hard to find at all!

The English poet John Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” I think it applies equally well to dazzling daffodils, sparkling snowdrops, and bashful bluets.