Last Sunday we experienced our first Daffodil Parade – which is part of our local town’s annual festival dedicated to that golden Springtime bloom. The theme for the parade was “the bulb and the beautiful” and our float featured a giant handmade fibreglass bulb with blooming daffodil, fabric daffodil hats and ponchos and tiny chocolates moulded as bulbs (wrapped with scriptures relating to beauty or boldness) to be given out to onlookers in the crowd. Along with the church float there were others from the local schools, playgroup, associations, bagpipe enthusiasts, brass bands and even a secret drumming society. After the parade there was a big celebration of live music, Chinese dragon dancers, and a host of rides, games, events and food stalls. Our church put on free face painting, daffodil-themed craft, woodworking, balloon sculpting and group games like tug-of-war and water-balloon volleyball. It was tremendous fun – I painted more flowers, hearts, tigers and moustaches of young faces than I can remember and Reu fell asleep at one point from overwhelm (I think) at all bagpipes, colour and crowds.
There was something so meaningful about being part of a community event like this. Neither of us grew up in neighbourhoods where people of all ages and walks of life came together to celebrate and make merry. I suspect that’s normal for city suburbs in the western world and yet I wish it were different. I’ve come to realise that I prefer this small town life not only because of its close proximity to land and sweeping bush, or it’s farmer’s markets and quaint shops. I prefer the sense of close-knit community it offers us – the challenge of investing in other people’s lives (and they in yours) then accepting a life of living crowded in with other people but never knowing anything about them. It makes me think of that wonderful quote by Wendell Berry: “community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each others’s lives… it is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves…” Yes – true community is sharing a place and letting it pattern your existence – inform your goals – enrich your experiences… And maybe from time to time it’s dressing up as flower and marching along the main street with your head up and your face smiling…
the daffodil family