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Visions of Dandelions

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

My mind is dancing with visions of dandelions: happy, yellow-faced flowers that are the harbingers of spring.

So while winter has its grips on most of America, I invite you to contemplate the wonderful, common dandelion and to dream of spring.

Dandelions look like they could be a cousin of the majestic thistle as they bloom together in open fields and forgotten patches. But dandelions are smaller and more humble than their showier relatives, gathering around the thistle’s base and barely raising their heads above ground.

Dandelions are named for their leaves that look like a lion's teeth. The jagged leaves that circle the flower are defiant, daring the passersby to come close. Here's the other thing, dandelions are edible in their entirety. If you get lost out there in the world, you can make a delicious salad in a pinch.

Remember when dandelions were magical to you as a child?

As kids most of us picked them for our wild bouquets because of their sun-kissed petals and their abundance. We knew innately to make wishes on their dancing pods. But as we become adults, somewhere along the way, dandelions lose wonder and soon we can't tolerate them in our yards.

The more I read about them, the more they draw me in. Did you know:

  • Dandelions are one of the early and most important sources of nectar for pollinators in spring.

  • They are thirty million years old and have been used in traditional medicines on three continents for thousands of years.

  • Dandelions were carried to the Americas on the Mayflower to use as medicine.

I want to wander into the weeds this year with a dandelion heart.

Dandelions give us a space where folks can make wishes on weeds and see the beauty in the ordinary.

There was frost on the ground the other morning while I was walking in the Texas countryside. I stopped and studied a frozen dandelion leaf. I could see the lion’s teeth, I could imagine tossing it in a salad, and I could see how it looked like a map of rivers.

As I looked I remembered how you can contemplate the whole universe in a single leaf.



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