Oh, I know we’ve all heard that most of our lives. Just one little step at a time, and we’ll get anything done. But do we really believe that? Especially when we aren’t exactly sure where we’re headed sometimes or how long it might take to get there. I want to tell you a story today of a very real woman named Jean Bauer.
She was an art teacher in the Los Angeles school district, and one day, almost sixty-five years ago, she began painting the hillside on her family’s five acres of land in Running Springs, CA. She actually claims she knew nothing about flowers when she started this project. Today, if you listen to her talk, she’s a veritable fountain of information about everything you’d ever want to know about daffodils.
Mrs. Bauer began in 1957 by planting just 24 bulbs next to her rustic cabin. Each year she just planted more, and the next year, more than that. The most she ever planted was in 1993 when she put 35,000 into the ground, each one planted individually by Mrs. Bauer herself, by hand. The five-acre garden is entirely organic as it has never been artificially watered or fertilized. Daffodils are toxic to rodents, so they’re naturally able to take care of themselves.
Even though she may plant 1,000 bulbs a day, and most of them by lunchtime, she says a good tip to getting it all done without being overwhelmed is to only take 200 at a time with her into the field. To have more than 200 lying on the ground at one time would seem like too much to accomplish, but if she tackles it a little bit at a time, it just seems easier. I think I see a lesson here for all of us, don’t you? Some bulbs have been in the ground for more than 58 years and continue to bloom.
So, just one bulb at a time, one summer at a time, one season at a time, and one year at a time, this special lady has changed her world and created something of extraordinary beauty and inspiration. And what can we learn from this? To move toward our goals and desires just one step at a time, lovingly doing the things that bring joy. Multiply these tiny pieces of our lives, these figments of time, and we will accomplish magnificent things.
Now don’t get all morose thinking about what you could have accomplished if you had started decades ago. Instead, think of what you will have missed if you don’t start today. Don’t wait until the mortgage is paid, until the kids are grown, until you earn that extra degree, until you clean your closets, get married, during spring break, or during the winter…or until you die.
Here’s to wishing you a Daffodil Day!