Those Dandelions Set Me Straight!

Where I’m at and what I was doing there really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was sitting, feeling the warmth of the sun reflecting in from the window, not even paying attention to what’s going on outside. The view glimmered in the sun and caught the corner of my eye. I turn to the right and squinted ever so slightly. Initially, nothing grand to be seen. Just a run of the mill field of green grass with trees lining the perimeter.  Such a pretty, relaxing view though. I love sitting by this window. As I keep turning to catch glimpses of the view I then notice; bright dandelions spread across that grassy field. Sporadic growth, some here, some there; nature has decided their location. They give off a cheery and warm feeling. A “SPRING IS APPROACHING” sign. As children, we were taught to depict the sun in yellow. This color symbolizes summertime warmth. Rubber duckies are always yellow. That “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Smiley face is always displayed in yellow. And so is a perfectly delicious banana. Growing up, my mom always painted our kitchen in yellow. “It’s a happy color”, she’d excuse. And I remembered those dandelions as a child, thinking they were the most beautiful “flower” ever. Pulling one out of the ground ever so gently to use as a tropical accessory in my hair. Something so small, yet made my life more colorful.

And just as someone’s entire life flashes before their eyes when faced with a huge mortality experience, at that moment, straight away I learned a true life lesson (or lessons).

Countless obsessed Americans have decided that this little beauty is more of a nuisance, a tiny irritating pest. Homeowners will cringe at the sight of these popping up amongst their beautifully manicured lawns. They will pull at the root, they will apply weed killer, with determination they will run over them with their mowers. And all because someone, somewhere, at some time decided that the only acceptable form of perfection is a clear green yard. They decided that nature cannot decide or dictate. They themselves will control and manipulate. They will pour out money and invest all energy to acquire the results they have come to accept and conform to. Each lawn striving to look like the one to their right and to their left. An all cohesive, interconnected, organized look. Homeowners will curse the dandelion for being a weed, forgetting, or maybe not even knowing that their perfect grass is too a weed. But ask a child, a person in their purest form, with eyes so clear, not influenced by pre-conceived notions of what is acceptable, which yard they would prefer, and most will choose the one adorned with those happy bright flowers. They see beauty, they see life, they see enjoyment.

And THAT is what happens to many when leaving childhood and entering adulthood. We all display it in one form or another, either willfully or unknowingly. We forget the beauty in things, in people, in nature, or we choose to fight against it. A charming old farm-house will be renovated in to a cold modern investment. A curvy woman will nip, tuck, or squeeze while a thin man will spend hours trying to bulk up. A man displaying a tattoo will be categorized, as well as a woman with short spiky hair. She’s too pushy, he’s too effeminate. He’s shy, she’s loud. He’s too contented, she’s money hungry. A man shouldn’t cry, a woman shouldn’t raise her voice. That kid is either too hyperactive, or the other too lethargic. This kid either talks too much, or your teen doesn’t speak much at all. Too short, too tall, too skinny or fat. We all fall under one of these categories. We all know someone who does. We all decide who goes where. We all fight against one or many.

But incredibly, a child will not care if you’re loud. He’ll consider you fun. Pushy? Assertive. Effeminate? Sensitive to others. Tattoos are interesting pictures. Spiky hair is cool. Hyperactive is playful and lethargic is relaxing. The one that talks a lot is social and the one that doesn’t is contemplative. That old farm-house has history, and that modern renovation is sleek. Curvy will provide a hug full of loving comfort, and that slender man is tall and elegant. Can you do that? Can you or I look at everyone and everything through the eyes of a child? I dare you to try this for a week.

It has been said that every weed is technically a plant deemed out-of-place. Deemed by who though? It is a plant considered undesirable. Undesirable to whom? Last I looked, nature has a purpose for EVERY living thing. The lowly unwanted Dandelion when researched is not only beautiful, but is hardy and has useful dietary and medicinal qualities AND is completely edible. Further research and the flower petals are used to make Dandelion wine and coffee. What?!! My next shopping trip for sure will include these in my cart. And of course, here’s the lesson I learned; Research the people you opt to judge before doing so. Don’t be the person to make them or yourself feel out-of-place. Don’t you dare consider someone else or yourself as undesirable. Understand their purpose and accept your own. See their beauty as well as your own. Look for their strengths and learn how to make your own even stronger.

Next lesson; Although a plant, I mentioned before that grass is also considered a weed by many. An acceptable, wanted, sort after and nurtured “weed”. The one knighted even by nature itself to cover the ground we walk on. So all is fine. NO! Of course, humans always step in to direct and decide things their way. Have you ever wondered who cuts the grass on the rolling hills of Ireland? Have you seen the rolling hills of Ireland? No one cuts it. It’s growth and self-maintenance has produced such a breathtaking view.  It’s proven that mowing is a destructive practice that stresses the grass because it reduces the amount of leaf tissue available for the production of energy. Cut too low, take it down past it’s breaking point, the grass dies. Dull, poorly adjusted equipment will tear the grass blade, leaving it susceptible to infection and giving your lawn a frayed brownish look. Blah, blah, blah? The correlations are just staring us straight in the face. You MUST see all the parallels here, don’t you?!  Adults insist nurturing only what they deem acceptable. They will destroy one another, cutting others down in order to fit them in to their perfect “green” life. And although many people and children do need some “trimming”, but if done incorrectly, if using poorly adjusted equipment; The result? There is nothing left for that person to produce. Their “energy” squashed, extracted, gone. Their beauty now frayed and eroded.

I WANT the happy Dandelion. I want to BE that Dandelion. I want the childhood attributes that come with it. I want to reflect that in my dealings with everyone. I will research you, I will ask you questions, I will get to know you, I will see your beauty and purpose. I will nurture you to grow in your natural state. You have the right to be wine and coffee. I will allow you to be The Rolling Hills of Ireland. And as for the actual Dandelion? I will keep them in my yard for as long as I can, because my children deserve the same memories and lessons I’ve learned through them.

— Elke

The Rolling Hills of Ireland - Picture courtesy of Bloomingfieldfarmvt.com

The Rolling Hills of Ireland – Picture courtesy of Bloomingfieldfarmvt.com

Picture courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

Picture courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

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