You in your small corner…

When I was a little girl, I learnt this hymn at school, and used to sing it for my gran.

Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,

Like a little candle, burning in the night.

In this world of darkness, we must shine,

You in your small corner, and I in mine.

The words of this song keep coming back to me as I find little groups of crocuses around the garden.

I don’t think you have to be religious to appreciate the pathos and ultimate comfort of these words. You might substitute the name of any benevolent presence, and I think it works.

Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,

Crocuses vary in size. This is the very smallest crocus that I grow. It is Crocus chrysanthus ‘Spring Beauty’. It is shorter than my little finger from base to tip. If I pick one, I have to cut it oh-so-carefully and then cradle it in cupped hands or it will blow away. Then it has to go in the tiniest egg up or espresso cup, or its head will not reach the lip.

Maybe because of its diminutive stature, the feathering on the outside of the petals seems all the more remarkable. I love the deep purple ink-stain against the palest lilac paper.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Spring Beauty’

The smaller crocuses remind us that no matter what our size or status, we all have a ‘small clear light’. We might be battered or bruised, tossed aside, ignored. But deep inside we know. Our light is small. But it is clear. We have integrity.

Like a little candle, burning in the night.

Crocuses often light up a dark little corner.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’

This trio was almost hidden in the leaf litter under our hazel. These too are tiny, but each of them is a tigress.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’

I love crocuses at this early stage where they require us to take in the detail of their outer petals.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’

When the sun comes out, the crocus opens up and sings its heart out.

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’

In this world of darkness, we must shine,

February is a harsh month. But there is hope. The days are getting longer. The sun peeps out from behind the clouds. Even when we can’t see the sun, it is still there.

This is Crocus ‘Flower Record’. I have planted it all around my roses in the Rose Garden.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’, amongst the roses.

There is something incredibly touching about the thorny rose stems growing side by side with the vulnerable crocus. When the rose is at its zenith, producing great goblets of flower, the crocus will have gone to ground, gathering its strength. Now when the rose is feeling ugly and bereft, the crocus rallies around, beseeching it into new growth.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’: stem.

Look how delicate and vulnerable the neck of the crocus is! It makes me shudder when I see it next to the thorns on the rose. But I have never seen a rose attacking a crocus. It has great power, greater status, the ability to oppress. But it doesn’t. It provides shelter, and stops others from accidentally stepping on the crocus.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’ (stem)

Crocus ‘Flower Record’ is the largest of all the crocuses that I grow. Here it is, first thing in the morning, snuggling into its coat.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’

And here it is in the afternoon sun.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’

This little patch was buzzing with bees.

Crocus ‘Flower Record’

You in your small corner, and I in mine.

Sometimes we are alone.

But we can feel connected. There are people who care. Sometimes they don’t need to know us very well. Sometimes they are far away. They are still there.

The world is not a bad place. There is not a ‘bad man’ around every corner. Most people are doing their best, and are happy to help you in your hour of need. Prejudice is usually just because you haven’t spent any time with that sort of person.

There are a lot of people in the world, like you, who care about our planet, the people, plants and animals who share it, who respect your beliefs, your dreams, your ideas. We might be sitting in different corners, but we can give a little wave.

I hope that you treasure your small, clear light. In your hour of darkness, know that you still have this light.

You in your small corner, and I in mine.

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. A lovely post thank you. I particularly like those yellow crocuses.

    1. They are stunning aren’t they? Sadly my only three like this!

  2. There is something special about spring flowers. Such a beautiful post 💗 Indeed we must shine 💗💗 in our corner.

    1. Yes, spring flowers certainly get my attention!

  3. Rupali says:

    Beautiful shots.

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    I always enjoy a visit to your garden, Ali. Crocuses seem to be the first colour in spring (white snowdrops don’t count as colour in my book). Apparently, they were brought to Britain by the Romans and Croydon means “crocus valley” I heard this titbit on Radio 4’s excellent “Word of Mouth” the other day.

    1. Oh, I shall look for that on BBC Sounds! I love Word of Mouth, but haven’t listened for ages. I agree; I don’t see white as a colour. I use very little white in the garden, because it seems like a waste of flower!

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        I listened to it as podcast, I always enjoy it. I Love Micheal Rosen. Snowdrops are the exception, I suppose, because in late winter their splashes of white are very welcome.

      2. Yes; the fresh green and white is a lovely combination. They come at exactly the right time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love this post! I remember learning that hymn at my first school. Can’t sing to save my life, but fifty- five years on the words still mean something to me. Your crocus are beautiful and I have none. Thanks for sharing them and your thoughts.

    1. Thank you so much for this lovely comment. It is really odd when words of seemingly forgotten songs come back, isn’t it? Like time travelling!

  6. Cathy says:

    A beautiful post Ali – both words and pictures. 🙂

    1. Thank you Cathy, I am glad you enjoyed them.

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    I am taking a small group to look for snowdrops this morning.

    1. How lovely to share them with others!

  8. Heyjude says:

    I agree with Emma that crocuses to me are the first flowers to herald the arrival of spring with their gorgeous colours (that ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’ is a wannahave) I like snowdrops, but it is colour I crave after the dull days of winter. Your tiny ones are so pretty.

    1. Yes, I will be looking out for ‘Zwanenburg Bronze’ when ordering bulbs this year. Those are my only three!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Hope they self-seed or whatever it is they do to proliferate.

      2. I find that Crocus tommasinianus self-seeds all over the place. Not so much for other crocuses. And I have had mixed success with splitting a cluster.

  9. Ann Mackay says:

    Lovely words and photographs. And all those little flickers of light add up to a radiant glow…

    1. That is a lovely phrase, Ann!

  10. So sweetly said Ali. Lovely words to ponder.

  11. Oh Ali! You’ve done it again. We must shine. Little yellow crocus blooms do look like lit candles. Thanks friend

    1. Thank you for being here to read it. x

  12. bcparkison says:

    Love the thought that the rose is protecting the small.

    1. Yes, so do I! The crocuses really do seem to like huddling there!

  13. Oh, Ali, this is a beautiful post, eloquent, and timely as Lent is just around the corner (Ash Wednesday is March 6th). I love the analogies you draw between the children’s hymn and the tiny crocuses. My crocuses were beginning to poke through the bracken by the front porch until heavy late snows blanketed us all. They’re still there, waiting, I’m sure, so I’ll wait, too.

    1. I am so glad this resonated with you. Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful comment.

  14. I’d never heard that hymn before, but what a lovely message. February has been particularly harsh for us this year, and I found some much-needed comfort in your post, thanks for sharing. X

    1. I think we have got off very lightly this winter, here in Kent. Here’s to spring!

  15. Clare Pooley says:

    Absolutely lovely, Ali! Thank you.

  16. Island Time says:

    A lovely post Ali, thank you! Good to see the spring flowers in your corner. This corner remains frozen solid and now covered in fresh white stuff! A late winter, a late spring….

    1. We are spoilt this year with an early spring. I think it is a month ahead of last year.

  17. Island Time says:

    You are lucky! Our spring seems to be a month later than last year! It s probably just as well though, as i also seem to be lagging behind this year.

    1. Oh no! I feel as though it has taken us by surprise. We not only had our morning coffee outside, but ate lunch outside. I can’t remember ever doing that in February before.

      1. Island Time says:

        Wow! That sounds fantastic, al fresco in February! We have had such luck in the past, but this year it seems it is our turn to be left out in the cold! Gives me time to catch up on other chores i suppose! Enjoy the mild weather!

  18. Michelle says:

    There is so much hopefulness in this post. Appreciating the beauty and the journey of crocuses really
    connects with me today. It’s nice to receive a reminder that springtime is right around the corner. To appreciate this beauty means to appreciate the journey.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Michelle. It is such a hopeful time of year. I love it.

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