Wild Harbinger of Spring

Welcome, wild harbinger of spring!  1st blossom in garden

To this small nook of earth;

Feeling and fancy fondly cling

‘Round thoughts which owe their birth

To thee, and to the humble spot

Where chance has fixed thy lowly lot.


Bernard Barton, “To a Crocus”


The crocus flower marks the dying of winter and the promise of spring. This past week, nearly nine months after Tristan overdosed on heroin, the first blossom appeared in his memorial garden. Nine months—the period of human gestation in darkness before birth.

The crocus proved a perfect symbol. Early stories about the flower include a young man named Crocus who was a friend of the Greek god Hermes (Mercury), messenger of the gods. One day the two were playing catch with a disc. The disc accidently hit Crocus in the head and he fell to the ground. Hermes, distraught with grief about the fatal wound, turned Crocus into a flower to honor him.

The crocus continues to honor others. Tristan received a crocus bulb about ten years ago when his Cub Scout den leader, Mike, passed from cancer that consumed his brain.

And a few years ago, like Crocus, my son Tristan was wounded in the head with the disease of addiction, a brain disorder that robs people of the ability to make healthy choices. Now his hard, dark night of addiction is over. I believe he resides on the Other Side, resurrected, at peace.

Last fall, Rebecca Woods came over with a bag of crocus bulbs and helped me plant them, and Mike’s crocus bulb, in my son’s memorial garden. The first crocus to spring up is the color of amethyst, a stone noted for healing properties.

As for my son, and my own grief, there is new life beyond the cold of winter. The crocus heralds the dawning of our spring.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

Plant some crocus bulbs next fall and watch for them during the winter. They can be a wonderful surprise, even in the dead of winter.


Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2016, from http://www.bartleby.com/78/197.html

Galenus, De constitutione artis medicae, 9. 4. (Corpus medicorum Graecorum, 13. p. 269)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocus_(mythology)


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