The daffodils are blowing off their stems, yes, but it is Nature's way of teaching us beautiful lessons.

"Scarce any man hath affliction enough," said the admirable poet Donne, "that is not made better by it," or words to that effect.

"Sweet are the uses of adversity," says Shakespeare.

"Though I make my bed in hell," says the Bible.

All these passages were written, of course, during a late freeze in spring.

There is probably not a cherry blossom left in the capital, the mercury having dipped below 25 degrees. Which was bad enough, but even worse was the brilliant sunshine of early morning to insure a rapid thaw. Rapid thawing insures fatality, even when low temperatures do not. If there had been gray skies and slow warming, many of the silent slain would still be with us.

Hyacinths are turning to mush, a process that may take another two days for complete fulfillment; tulips are iffy but many are already safely in a better world; peonies are problematical, but substantial damage is possible (read "certain," if peonies are the main thing in your garden).

Irises, which do not bloom till May, have probably suffered terrible damage since the bloom stalk, still within the sheathing fan of leaves just at ground level, is probably killed. "Blind," as gardeners say, not wishing to say "dead."

Freezing is essentially a phenomenon of drying. The process of drying by freezing is much helped by gales, which are thoughtfully provided as well. Those who love Nature and her beautiful natural ways and her beautiful lessons, have fully enjoyed the week thus far.

Now the good news: aphids, Japanese beetles, all our little summer friends, have survived without a scratch.

More good news: this late freeze was not the gardener's fault (as most disasters in the garden are) and there was nothing we should have done or could have done. It's like Uncle Will going down on the Titanic--it was beyond our responsibility. Not like Uncle Will dying because we went out on the town and didn't get him to the hospital soon enough.

And, finally, there is nothing we are supposed to do now. Furthermore, the damage is superficial. Superficial means on-the-surface, of course.

If you or your flowers happen to live elsewhere--middle of the earth, say--you will hardly suffer at all.