- Author: Paula Pashby
Every morning you greet me
Small and white clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever
This is a longtime favorite song of mine from the 1965 film, The Sound of Music. We had the television on the other night, listening to the news while getting ready for dinner. Totally unexpected, the movie came on and we had to stop to watch the opening scene that shows a bird's eye view of the Austrian Alps. This movie is one of our Top-10 holiday films, always a pleasure to watch.
I always choke up when I listen to this inspirational song, written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for the movie. The song portrays a robust little plant with a white flower. The Edelweiss (Leontopoium nivale) is always there to happily greet those that may be hiking through an alpine meadow. Each passerby then encourages the flower to continue to bloom and grow forever. The song is romanticized in the movie to effectively represent Austrian patriotism and strength during times of conflict.
The flower grows throughout the Alps and is a protected plant in several countries, including Poland, Serbia, Austria, Italy, and Germany. In my research, I found that “Edelweiss” represented a medal of honor since collecting this flower was sometimes treacherous. Whatever the case, the song was effective for the theme of the movie and was the last song that Hammerstein wrote before he passed away in August 1960.
This tough little flower usually grows out of rocky limestones at high altitudes and although it appears to be a very delicate flower, it is built to withstand the extreme weather in high elevations.
Both the plants' flowers and leaves are coated with white hairs and will grow up to 8 inches in the wild. Each of the blooms has striking small yellow florets (small flowers that make up a flower head). The florets are surrounded by white petals in the form of double stars.
Whenever I hear (or try to sing) this song, I am warmed by thoughts of this beautiful little flower popping out through the rocks to greet me, inspiring resilience and growth and making my day special. So the next time the Sound of Music plays this holiday season, and you can't help but sing along, just know that the Edelweiss truly does exist and represents both the beauty and strength of endurance.