May 14th – “Dandelions”

When I was cleaning out the garage, I came across a garden tool that looked like a cross between a hoe, and Freddy Krueger’s finger nails.  I asked my wife Lori what it was and she said it’s a tool for removing dandelions from the lawn.  I asked her if we ever use it and she said she used to, but then she eventually gave up the fight.  I asked her if I should use it and use some of my sabbatical time to wage war on our dandelions.  She shrugged, and said, “just wear sunscreen.” 

Dandelion season is in full swing, and Barrie is a carpet of yellow.  Some lawns seem to miss this annual festival of colour (personally, I think that green lawns at this time of year are probably more chemically enhanced than a Grateful Dead concert).  But most of us are well acquainted with this flower/weed whether we like it or not. 

Dandelions are not native to North America, they were brought here by European settlers in the 1600’s to be grown for food and medicine.  Since then they have spread, and spread and spread.  They have been called many things over the years including; swine’s snout, Irish daisy, priest’s crown and wet-a-bed (probably for their diuretic effect when eaten).  For most of us, whatever they are called, they are a pain.  They take over our lawns and choke out our grass.  And they are nearly impossible to get rid of.  Did you know that a dandelion doesn’t need to be pollinated to grow? The female parts of the flower develop seeds on their own.  And, did you know that a dandelion’s roots can go as deep as 12 feet into the ground?  No wonder mowing them is only a band-aid measure to make your grass look temporarily not-yellow.

Dandelions are persistent, tenacious, strong, and unyielding.

So, maybe this is a stretch, but what if dandelions could symbolize people.  In my life, as I’m sure in yours, I have admired those who refuse to let life keep them down.  Some of my heroes are friends, neighbours, church members, who have found a way to continue to grow through the cracks, and crevices of life’s set-backs.  Their roots are strong.  They make their own fate and fortune just as a dandelion self-pollinates.  They don’t wait for perfect conditions, they just grow.  And even when they are knocked down, they find a way to come back again.  They are people who bring colour to life, because they are life’s most tenacious survivors.  I can name a lot of dandelions in my life as I’m sure you can too.  And they inspire me every day.

Maybe my lawn is covered in dandelions, or maybe it is covered in symbols of hope.  Either way, I think this year I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  If they have worked so hard to survive, don’t they deserve their moment to colour the world yellow?    

“In a world of roses, she chose to become a dandelion” – Sarah Beth McClure