[daf-nee]

noun

1. Classical Mythology . a nymph who, when pursued by Apollo, was saved by being changed into a laurel tree.

2. ( lowercase ) Botany . any Eurasian shrub belonging to the genus Daphne,  certain species of which, as D. mezereum,  are cultivated for their fragrant flowers.

3. a female given name.

 

Daphne is a genus of between 50 and 95 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to Asia, Europe and north Africa. They are noted for their scented flowers and poisonous berries. Wikipedia
 

Breathe deep the aroma of the divine

 

Daphne is my favorite flower. It isn’t grand, or dramatic; its blossoms are tiny and can only accurately be described as cute. Though they aren’t much to look at they have other properties that earn them such a high place in my regard.

They Smell Like Magic

There is no aroma on this earth that I have ever encountered that surpasses Daphne for sheer wondrousness. It smells like spring, delight, and newfound love. I first noticed it on the campus at the University of Portland. I was stopped dead in my tracks by the most glorious scent I had ever experienced. I followed it over to an unassuming little bush replete with clusters of tiny pink flowers. I plucked one, put it in my shirt pocket and wandered around, drunk on the fragrance for the rest of the day. My mother, always a keen amateur botanist identified it for me readily when I took it out of my pocket later to exclaim at my new discovery. I wanted to be bathed in the aroma at all times, and set out to find a perfume that reproduced that sense of olfactory ecstasy. The Perfume House on Hawthorne was most helpful, but had to admit that part of what I was smelling, and so deeply enamored with was the “green scent” of the living plant, which cannot be readily reproduced by any perfumier. I did find that Flowers by Kenzo™ most closely mimics the scent and is a lovely perfume on its own account. So, I must wait for the Daphne to bloom each year to enjoy the unadulterated pleasure therein. Happily  I am fortunate enough now to live with Daphne growing right outside my front door. Every time I come home, I am surrounded and immersed in its aura; redolent of joy. 

They Bloom At A Time Of Year When Everything Else Sucks

Early February is the most dismal, grey, desolate stretch of the year. The daylight is feeble and fleeting. Rain and drizzle are the customary order of the day. Holiday hangover is in full effect. Yet, into this scene of misery is born the most delightful offering of nature. Daphne blooms like a precious reminder that pleasure and delight are still available, indeed that they are forthcoming, at a time when that message is most dearly needed.

The Daphne in front of my house has been in bloom for a few weeks now, and the flowers are beginning to wilt and fade. Though I am always sad to see them fade, it makes their beauty more poignant, for being so fleeting. I try to make the most of their availability while I can. I often pluck a cluster for Hodie and tuck it into her backpack so that when she gets to school she has a lovely little surprise. I slip it between my breasts to ride around with me all day; to remind me I have access to small moments of joy, whenever I might need it most.