London daffodils refuse to go quietly

I couldn’t believe they were still in bloom on this trip to London, after seeing them in December, and mid-February, and late February. It’s mid-March and they’re still going strong.

Spring flowers near Kensington Palace

In Illinois, daffodils bloom so briefly, sometimes you wonder the point of even planting them. So once again I said to myself, “It’s true. The English are just better than us.” Even their daffodils make sense.

But then I got back to Illinois and realized a different truth. Our winters are usually so terrible that that short period of daffodils serves a purpose of more than simply producing flowers. It is a reward for endurance, for literally surviving the storm. It produces hope of better times to come. And hope, my friends, especially after surviving the storm, is the most important thing there is.

The weather for this trip to London was lovely, sunny and relatively warm. On Monday, we were supposed to leave early to get to the airport, but once we were up and about, we noticed an email from American Airlines saying our flight had been delayed. We used our additional time to take a walk around the neighborhood and Hyde Park. Monday happened to be quite a raw day, blowy and cold. I took these pictures during our walk.

Today Arsenal played the reverse fixture in the Champions League against Barcelona. A 3-1 loss in the end, and so our Champions League hopes are behind us. The damage of this week is that we’re out of two competitions that last week we were still in.

Despite a worse outcome today than in Arsenal’s match against Barcelona at home, it was a better loss than the previous one. We played reasonably well with a somewhat new combination of players. And Mohomed Elneny got his first Arsenal goal.

We have one thing to focus on now: the Premier League. I am by nature a realist, which you might say is kind of close to being pessimist. We are not well-positioned for winning the Premier League. We don’t have the points in our favor or, really, any notable momentum.

But we aren’t out of it mathematically and maybe we’ve reached the bottom of the trough by now. We produced a performance to build on today. We still need an awful lot of luck in addition to grinding out results.

But maybe, just maybe, we are looking at daffodils.

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