Dandelions, like all things in nature are beautiful when you take the time to pay attention to them.
What is your favorite flower? There are so many to choose from: tulips, lilacs, daisies, lilies, roses… One of my favorites is the magnolia. The first time I saw one, I thought it was plastic and someone had glued plastic flowers to their tree. They were so perfect and so flawless; I was in love with their perfection!
One flower that might not often be named as a favorite is the dandelion. I’m sure you’re familiar with this plant creeping into your sidewalk cracks and distracting from your perfect green, lush lawn. The dictionary defines it as “a widely distributed weed of the daisy family, with a rosette of leaves, bright yellow flowers followed by globular heads of seeds with downy tufts.”
Those “downy tufts” can produce more than 2,000 seeds, this explains why getting rid of this weed is so difficult. And we definitely want to get rid of it. We don’t want our nice, green, lush lawn sprinkled with yellow weeds. So we pay neighborhood kids to pluck them out of our lawns and our lives. And then we spray with weed killer so they never come back.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this for every weed? Not just the ones that plague our lawn, but also our life?
Life weeds like wrinkles, parking tickets, wayward children, screechy cars, sleeping disorders, financial troubles – any and everything from short eyelashes to rude neighbors could be plucked from our life and eliminated with just one squirt.
Then we could happily enjoy our weed-less lives and fresh, green, lush lawns.
Perfection with just one squirt.
But wait, who decided that the dandelion was a weed? Who got to say that the dandelion wasn’t supposed to be a part of lawns or gardens or botanical decorations? Who invented dandelion weed killer?
Did you know that dandelions are packed with nutrients and hailed as the perfect detox tool, diuretic, and natural source of caffeine? Eating them (in a variety of ways I hear are delicious) can help with bone health, strengthen the liver, control diabetes, treat UTIs, prevent acne, help with weight loss, prevent cancer and anemia, treat jaundice, regulate blood pressure, promote digestion, and treat scurvy.
So wait, back to the question: who decided this amazing plant was a weed?
And who is it who gets to decide that the flaws of life are also in need of constant removal? Who gets to determine that wrinkles aren’t beautiful? That screechy cars aren’t helpful? That sleeping disorders can’t nourish the spirit as much as a dandelion can nourish the body?
I think it’s tempting to keep an eye on our neighbor’s green lawn and their seemingly perfect life and close our eyes to the dandelions that grow in our own. Those yellow lawn weeds might have a wide range of nutritional value, but life’s weeds provide nourishment unattainable in other ways. Screechy cars feed us with humility, wayward children strengthen our hearts, and financial burdens nourish our resolve.
And once we see those weeds, in life and in lawns, for the nutritious helps that they are, they become less irritating. Instead of wanting to get rid of them we just…want them. We see them less like the weed and more like the beautiful flower they’ve always been. They don’t distract from our lives, they perfect them.