35mm photo of a puffy dandelion seed head set atop grass.

Waiting on the Winds of Change

35mm photo of a puffy dandelion seed head set atop grass.
Waiting on the Winds of Change — 35mm | f/1.4 | ISO 100 | EXP 1/8000

To weed, or not to weed, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the lawn to suffer the blades and clippers of outrageous trimming…

OK, let’s bring it back. I am no Shakespeare (duh) and this sure is no Hamlet. But I would like to wax about on dandelions, perspective, and how it all changes. As a child, like many children I suspect, I partook of the cult of dandelion. I’d run about my grandparent’s lawn collecting the golden flower tops with aplomb. On my best day I may have even slapped a small bouquet together for eager delivery to Mom. On my worst day I’d roam the lawn with friends, pluck a dandelion or 12, and intone, “momma had a baby and its head popped off.” Yeah, the indignations of youth.

Of greater mystery, however, were dandelions in their gray puff ball evolution. Like the one I photographed above. These airy beauties offered the greatest fuel for play and imagination—and lacked an evil jingle. Countless hours spent holding up the cloud like seed heads into the wind watching the air carry them away. Little men holding umbrella parachutes they’d travel in unpredictable air currents toward parts unknown. The charms were boundless. When the air was still it was mouth powered air travel filling in for the wind’s absence. This was the first lesson in the power of breath.

Fast forward to adulthood and like all things once wondrous the cynical world soul crushed joy into avarice. In this case the greed for a perfect lawn. There is no place for dandelions in a perfect lawn, you see. And thus my childhood dandelion friends found bottomed out status as weeds. Weeds! Unwanted growing things to excise with fascist impunity. This world view held sway for years, until I learned a thing or two. On the one hand what is a perfect lawn and who needs it anyway? And on the other hand, our pollinator bee friends are fond of the dandelion. And bees need our help. And so, in my world, dandelions have regained proper status in the land of growing things. Oh, and they photograph and taste great, too.

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