There are delights to the internet.
One of my favorite delights is “Futility Closet”. In another life, I’d have a blog like the Closet. You can sign up for email notifications, which makes keeping up with their posts an easy thing. The Closet is a nice success story. See: http://www.futilitycloset.com/about/ for some details.
Futility Closet recently came up with a nifty, esoteric, rare word.
What’s a bunnikin? An early flower.
Here is a West Tisbury bunnikin. This winter has been so snowy and cold that the snowdrops, which of late have opened between December 28th and January 9th, have not had their first blooms until weeks later.
Bunnikin is a diminutive of the word “bunny”.
From a dictionary site comes: The origin of this word is a Celtic bun “stump, bottom” which was extended to the tail of a bunny, then to their entire rear ends (at which point squirrel’s bottoms were included) and, finally, to the entire rabbit
Futility then seguéd to a lovely little snowdrop poem by Anna Barbauld.
Already now the Snowdrop dares appear,
The first pale blossom of the unripened year:
As Flora’s breath, by some transforming power,
Had changed an icicle into a flower:
Its name and hue the scentless plant retains
And Winter lingers in its icy veins.
– Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825)
Either poor Anna had a scentless variety in her garden, or she must not have gone outside and put her nose into the blossoms, for the snowdrop, especially in the mass, is an extraordinarily fragrant flower.
If you have snowdrops around, take the time to sniff.
See if it isn’t scented.
And then gently tilt the flower up, to see the wonderfully patterned interior.