#FridayFlash: The Sound of Daffodils

The Sound of Daffodils

by Tony Noland

"Dad... please come inside. Can you hear me? Do you understand? Dad?"

"I can hear you perfectly, Summer. In fact, you're drowning out the rain."

"Dad, please, this is crazy." She spoke much lower now, hardly more than a tense whisper. "You can't just sit out here. You'll catch pneumonia."

"I didn't mean your voice, kiddo." He looked up at her from the old teak bench, squinting through the water running down his face. "Can't you hear it?"

"Hear what? The rain?"

"Your umbrella. That pattering of raindrops on the nylon cloth. Can't you hear it? Doesn't it seem loud to you? Or don't you even notice it?" He lowered his gaze again, looking out over the flower beds, lush with spring growth. "Put down your umbrella and listen with me for a while. For as long as the rain lasts."

"I'm not going to sit out in the rain and get soaking wet, Dad."

She clearly would have gone on, but the wave of pain that passed over her father's face stopped her. For a time, they said nothing. The rain fell on the two of them, alone together.

"Did you know," he said at last, "it was the rain that led us to move here from Philadelphia? We told everyone it was for work, but really, it's because the rains are always warm here in South Carolina."

"Mom always said the warmer the rain, the bigger the flowers." It was her turn to look out over the beds. "Mom sure loved gardening."

"No, she didn't," he said. "Mom loved the rain. She just used the flowers as an excuse to be out in it."


"I'm serious, Summer. It was always about the rain. She loved the feeling of the water in her hair, on her skin. She loved the sound of the rain falling on the leaves, the grass, even on the gravel. It was never about the flowers."

Summer stared at him from under her umbrella. "But she worked so hard on these beds!"

He smiled and shook his head. "Didn't you ever notice what she planted?" He pointed at the various raised beds as he spoke. "Tulips, daffodils, Siberian irises, tiger lilies. Each of the beds is lush and thriving, sure, but they're all self-naturalizing perennials. Once they got going, she could let them take care of themselves. Left alone, they grew like crazy. There was some weeding to do, but mostly, she was able to just sit back and let them flower on their own, enjoying their blossoms as they came."

"No," he continued, "she came out here for the rain. Always, it for was the rain. She showed me how to appreciate it, too, but she was the one who loved it. On rainy nights, after we put you kids to bed, we'd come out here and sit. We'd talk and listen to the rain, feel it wash away the difficulties of the day."

A dull roll of thunder passed over them. The soft, steady rain began to thicken into heavier drops.

"It was right here that we grew together, that we smoothed over the bumps in the road," he said, "that we worked out the daily decisions of how we would live our lives together." He smiled. "It was right here on this bench that we decided to have another child after we'd spent eleven years thinking we were done having kids."

"You mean... are you saying that you and Mom... conceived Gerry up here? In the rain?"

He laughed. "No, I mean we talked it through and came to the decision. Oh, we made love in the rain a couple of times, but rolling around in the mud wasn't your mother's style. This bench is great for necking and fooling around, but not so good for actual sex."

"Dad! I really don't need to hear this!"

He shrugged and looked out at the flowers again. The rain fell and ran down his wrinkled face, over the slight smile his memories brought him.

Summer said, "I remember now. The drying rack by the back door, the one in the mud room. I remember how there were damp clothes hanging on it on some mornings. I always thought Mom did laundry after us kids went to bed."

"She loved the rain," he said, "but she didn't want to get the floors wet. She always took off her wet things before coming into the house."

Under her umbrella, Summer looked out at her father. For a long time, she said nothing. The rain fell on the garden and on her umbrella, dripping down onto her legs, soaking her shoes on the pea gravel path.

She put a hand on her father's shoulder. "I'll set out a towel for you by the backdoor." With a gentle squeeze, she left him and went back down to the house.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. I liked this. There's a bit of fondness, a bit of wistful and a dash of humour. Feels like the dad hasn't got that long left.

  2. I never got to go there, but my sister went to Hawaii once and that was one thing she came back with very fond memories of -- warm rain. Touching story, Tony.

  3. Some sweet interaction here. Standing out in the rain is a little odd, maybe, but not the most extreme behavior. Loved that line, "Dad! I really don't need to hear this!"

    I liked how Summer came to understand her dad's need to commune with his departed love this way, and her gentle way of acknowledging it.

  4. I really enjoyed this piece, Tony. I've been feeling nostalgic myself and it was nice to see it reflected here.

  5. Nice, Tony. I can just imagine the look on her face - "I don't need to hear this!"

  6. Adorable slice of a meaningful conversation. Tony has heart. ;)

  7. This was sweet and gentle. Just what I needed today! Thanks ^_^

  8. This is just lovely! Gentle and humorous and sad. Well done and thanks for sharing!

  9. warm rain... just couldn't find that sentiment here in soggy old England. A charming and slightly sad story in many ways. I don't know if it was just me, or the falling rain seemed to parallel what I imagined to be tears for his lost wife?

    marc nash

  10. This was beautiful and poignant, Tony... a loved one well-remembered. Thank you.

  11. This was a sweet little story. I agree with Marc that it's difficult to image warm rain over here (up North it's often closer to sleet) but it's a beautiful idea all the same!

  12. I thought this was sweet. I kept thinking, though, that the beds were some sort of grave for the mother. Maybe a metaphorical one...

    Nicely told!

  13. Good of her to come around to his way and abet rather than fight. Worthwhile nostalgia we all ought to be allowed to feel, and if challenged, well, you hear about your parents boinking.

  14. sweet and sad and nostalgic! good of her to leave a towel for him.

  15. Lovely piece. I felt in a stopped moment with that rain pouring and the man pouring out his memories and he and his daughter taking time with each other.

  16. Oh jeez. You made me sniffly, Tony. And I love how I could really hear the drops and the thunder, and see the rain coming down. Well done.

  17. Warm rain - now you've got me all nostalgic for India - as kids we loved running out and playing in the first rains (I remember spinning in warm rain) till the mothers made us go back in.But lovely story. Good daughter.

  18. Thanks for the great comments, everyone. This wistful piece is an exploration of sound and space. I'm glad you all liked it.

  19. The tone in this, the father's voice, is wonderful. As mentioned above, wistful, loving, with a dash of humor.

    A gentle read, Tony.

  20. I could hear the rain. It felt really like bonding. A timeless, warm and peacefull tale, Tony.

    Great to read. Enjoyed every word of it.

  21. Lovely story Tony.. You have the ability to switch from hard boiled snarling fiction to soft, gentle and poignant writing that is never sentimental.. I love your exploration of the senses.. Great work

    A man after my own muse!! har har

  22. Lovely story. Made me nostalgic for the warm rain of Hong Kong!


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?