The Mighty Dandelion

Dandelions. They are an enigma in this life. When we were kids, I feel confident that nearly every one of us snapped one off at the stem and proudly handed it to a parent or a friend, even while the white sap of the stem leaked out onto our hands. 

Before long we are taught that dandelions are weeds and should be banished from our yards and hearts. But even that’s not accurate, as the dandelion is a perennial herb used for food and healing. In recent years, my fondness for the dandelion has returned. I see them frequently near the trail, in the woods and most impressively, pressing its way up through an asphalt parking lot, or concrete sidewalk. Apparently someone didn’t inform the dandelion that it was considered lowly and an eyesore. However, the more I contemplate it, the more I think we have been the ones who are misinformed.

You may ask yourself, what has prompted this fascination with the dandelion. I will tell you. I have been running and walking a lot lately and I have noticed that it seems dandelions haven’t simply fallen into favor in my eyes. Large grassy fields that typically this time of year would be fully picked clean of dandelions are awash in the herb. 

Most of all, I find dandelions inspiring. Despite all the negative publicity they’ve received; all the toxic pesticides that have been created to kill them (yes, I take issue) and the ways we’ve tried to eradicate them, they just keep popping up. They show up in the unlikeliest of spaces and places. They always bring their signature brightness despite their unfavorable treatment. They are resilience in action.

The more you start paying attention to dandelions the more you notice that they really do not all look alike. This next little factoid required a Google search from me, but I discovered there is a good reason for this. There are more than 250 species of dandelions! I know! I can hardly believe it either.

All this time we’ve been telling ourselves that dandelions are weeds. But they are not. We have been telling ourselves they are ugly. But really they are not. Even better, they are free and hardy. We have never once had to make a trip to Lowes or Home Depot to buy dandelions, nor have we lamented accidentally killing our bed of dandelions. These little ubiquitous herbs are gamers. They show up when you need them and they never give up.

I have personally decided that 2021 is the Year of the Dandelion. We are all weary. I think many of us, if not all, have pondered if life was supposed to be this hard. We need encouragement. We need inspiration. We need a role model and honestly, with only the very slightest bit of humor, do I submit to you I think the dandelion is it. 

Every single time I notice a dandelion growing out a slab of stone or in the middle of a parking block, I think, damn it if you didn’t earn that spot. I wouldn’t even have the courage to kill it or to even think I could. That’s the kind of indomitable spirit we need right now. We need an underdog we can believe in. The dandelion, I believe, is up to the task. 

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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