Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lilies of the Valley

Images from childhood can unexpectedly flash into our minds at a moment's notice.

One of the clearest I have is of  walking in the woods in spring with my cousins and my Aunt Gert. She would point out the most beautiful little white flowers on long, slender stalks. They were, of course, lilies of the valley.

Their fragrance was sweet and beautiful. I loved picking  bouquets of them and then sticking my nose into the white, bell-shaped flowers to sniff them. Ahhhh, it was such a fabulous scent.

Then, in school, we learned a traditional round about lilies of the valley.

Any baby boomers out there, see if you remember it. This is how it went:

                                 "White choral bells, upon a slender stalk
                                   Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.
                                  Oh, don't you wish, that you could here them ring?
                                  That will only happen when the fairies sing."

In the ensuing years since elementary school days in western Mass,  while singing it, somehow  the word "fairies" got changed to "bluebirds."   Even in Girl Scout rounds, however, the verses all read "fairies."

By the way, I questioned the spelling of the word that comes after "White" in the song. Many versions on YouTube spell it "coral."  Well, lilies of the valley are white, not the color coral, so it's almost a sure bet the spelling is "choral," as in chorus.

If you want to hear how the tune goes, here's one place you can listen to it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHJgTqBM-Cc&feature=related

Anyway, whenever I see lilies of the valley now, their intense beauty will be tinged with sadness. My aunt died this year. We will never walk in the woods again or rejoice over the magnificence of a fragrant lily of the valley.

Like the woodland walks, my beloved aunt will now be part of my most precious memories.



diane stetson said...

Love the song...remember it perfectly from elementary school....love lillies of the valley..one of my very favorite flowers and loved those walks with Aunt Gert..

La Tea Dah said...

I'm so sorry about your aunt. Letting go to favorite people of our past is very difficult. I'm glad you have lily of the valley in your life to remind you of her.

I love that little song! I learned it as a very young child. In elementary school I sang in in choir as a round with my classmates.

Today I checked the patches of lily of the valley that I have growing in my garden. They are slender shoots of green coming through the earth. I look forward to their fragrant blooms.

Thanks for a great walk down memory lane! Next week I attend the memorial service of my favorite aunt. Like you, I am counting on memories to get me through.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Yes, Lily of the Valley grow in a medium size patch by by deck. It is very shady and every year they spread a little more. A friend gave me a small bag a few years ago from her garden and I love knowing that they came from her. Lily of the Valley are also the flower of the month of May which happens to be my birthday. So glad you have those wonderful memories of your beloved aunt.

Vicki said...

So sorry to hear about your aunt...What a nice post...Wonderful way to remember her by and love the flowers also....

Tammy said...

That is not a song I would have learned growing up in the south. Now if there was a song about azaleas, I might know it. :) We are having an official Sand Day here. 16 years and this is the first one I am aware of. :/ Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Tammy

Linda O'Connell said...

No, I didn't learn that song, but it is lovely just like your post about walking with your aunt.

Bookie said...

I have neve seen Lilies in the wild myself. But they are a lovely little flower. Nice you have tghe memories to "bloom" often for you!

Claus said...

Because of our climate and tropical weather conditions, the lily of the valley is not common in Guatemala. Here, it's most about tropical varieties of bright colors, and odd shapes, such as the bird of paradise. I think, though, that the lily of the valley is so pretty!, and looks delicate. I bet it smells delicious!
thank you for sharing!
have a lovely day

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Lilies of the Valley will always be interwoven with the sweet memories of your Aunt. I am sorry for your loss, but the wonderful memories will remain.

All simple joys,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan!
You posts are always so sentimentaly sweet, and that's why i love reading you!
Although I am not familiar with the poem, My best educated guess as to the spelling of the word would also be choral, with an 'h'.
It makes more sense!

Thanks for sharing, and for your visits to my blogs.
I love hearing from you, dear Susan.

Ciao Bella!

Creative Carmelina

Kathy said...

Yes, I have these - lovely post - made me smile!

Vicki said...

Hi again....I saw where you had stopped by today..I live in Indiana... As the saying goes the weather can change here at any time....ha! Have a wonderful evening....

Chatty Crone said...

I remember that song myself! I am sorry about your aunt - (hugs).
Now I don't think they are grown here - but I'm not sure to be honest.

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