Dandelion

Long Live the Dandelion

They say it’s the little things that make the difference, and I’m pretty sure that’s true.

Dandelion
Dandelions—”they speak to the persistence of life.”

Case in point: I saw my first dandelion of the season early this month, and it absolutely made my day. I love dandelions, and I’ve probably written about them before. Hang on—I’m going to do it again!

To begin with, they’re sentimental for me. As a kid, I always picked the first dandelions I could find and took them to my mom. The first ones always grew close to the hospital, just around the corner from our home. I’d go looking, and I still remember the delight when I found those bright-yellow little promises that summer was coming. Mom always took them, put them in the same glass (it had diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades on it and had originally been filled with peanut butter) and set it on the kitchen table—a place of pride.

I remember my grandmother sending us out to pick dandelion heads. She gave my friends and me each a container, and we weren’t to come back in until we had filled them. We were thrilled to be part of the making of wine! Once the wine was made, we got a little glass with a few drops of wine, filled with hot water and sugar. We were probably five or six, but so very sophisticated.

The nostalgia goes on, but for now I’ll just mention the making of dandelion chains. As we got older there was a complicated formula, in the making of them, that would spell out the first name of our future husbands. I don’t remember the formula now (Just as well, don’t you think?), but making those chains took up quite a bit of our summer evenings.

I love dandelions even more now as an adult.

They’re stubborn and brave, and they grow anywhere at all. They’re smart: they duck their heads when you try to mow them down. And even though they’re beautiful but are still called weeds, they just don’t care. They just keep on growing. It makes me wonder, Who was the first person to say that dandelions are weeds? Who gave them the right to say that, and why did we all believe it? And that makes me think of how we do that to one another, too. It seems to me that they speak to the persistence of life and that we need to admire the unique beauty that each flower—or each person—has, and to refrain from labelling.

Most recently, I’ve learned that every part of the dandelion is edible and that they provide much-needed food for bees.

From my earliest years, until now, dandelions have been a source of surprise and delight. I’ve never lost that feeling of wonder at the first signs of them in the spring.

Long live the dandelion!

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