Dandelions: The Flower of Life
Today’s Facebook question involves choosing a favorite flower.
“White roses,” it states, “represent purity and innocence, and are traditionally associated with weddings and new beginnings.”
Carnations for divine love, Daffodils - unrequited love, larkspurs - fickleness.
Not a fan.
Why are dandelions not an option?
I mean, here they are already, marching across yards and ditches, alleys and junkyards, shoulder to shoulder, yellow heads tucked against the blustery early May wind. Nature’s fiercest warriors, they know no boundaries, respect no lines, do not discriminate. They are plentiful and free to everyone.
Has ever a mother accepted a handful of these lovelies from her little one with anything but the utmost exuberance? “Oh my!” we say. “Aren’t they gorgeous?” And then we inhale that sharp fragrance until our noses are yellow with it.
They are beautiful! I don’t own a single warm weather memory that isn’t dotted with bright yellow, as essential as the blue of the sky itself. Childhood summers were spent weaving their stems into chains, staining our fingertips green. We studied the rudiments of dandelion wine making, made a wish while scattering the feather seed balls, and chanted “mama had a baby and its head popped off” until the ground was littered with the beheaded beauties.
Dandelions are forgiving – they come back.
My own children gathered them up by the fistful and set them on the counter in water glasses; and even though the bloom’s demise was immediate, we would keep the wilted stem for days. I have to admit (and I think most women would) that I have received roses with less enthusiasm.
At my aunt’s funeral, my cousin’s final act was to offer a dandelion – she stood for a time with her head bent, sunlight brightening her hair, and then she lay the little flower on the coffin, creating a memory so sharp, so poignant it will be forever linked in my mind with the first green of spring.
Weed, you say? Dandelions are the flowers of life, brave and resilient and absolutely glorious. They represent all that is good - round of face, bright complected. Shouldn’t we all be more like them, planting our feet firmly, squaring our shoulders against the opposition and raising our heads to the sun?
Perhaps a bit overboard, you say? Yes, maybe, but I will make my husband read this before he reaches for the Round Up.
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