As a scruffy six-year-old I loved to sprawl on the parking strip under the Hawthorne trees Dad planted and pick dandelions to string a necklace for Mom. I’m sure the people riding past on the city bus were quite amused at the sight. I wore rolled-up baggy jeans, orange Mr. Magoo glasses, and tight Richard Hudnut Quick Home Perm curls. When satisfied with my masterpiece, I ran up the stairs and through the backyard to the kitchen screen door, which banged repeatedly behind me like a glorious drum roll announcing my grand gift. “Oh, Honey, it’s beautiful! Yellow is my favorite color, you know,” Mom exclaimed with every new necklace.
As a budding teenage beauty I lounged on the parking strip with friends hoping that Billy would just happen to walk by. Right. His paper delivery route took him by my house at the same time every summer afternoon. To wile away the time we plucked the leaves off dandelions to the tune of “He loves me, he loves me not.”
And now, the damn dandelions! They served me well in younger, carefree days. in adulthood they are an eyesore, a nuisance. We regard them as useless weeds which overtake our carefully manicured grass, buying into the lawn culture marketed by herbicide companies.
What if we regarded dandelions as we do the weeds in our carefully manicured souls? Let them grow among the virtues while we train them. We could treat them like questions living into answers, as Rilke says. The result just might be a more human landscape.
photo credit: Fire Engine Red <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22620629@N05/25729346044″>Dandelions DP</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>