We’ve got a love-hate relationship with dandelions, don’t we? If you’ve ever owned a lawn or been around a lawn-owner who gives a shit about grass, you’ve either personally attempted or seen someone attempt to eradicate the no-good very-bad terrible dandelions in it. The circular sprays of leaves seem like particularly wicked saw-blades. Grass-murderer! Lawn defiler! Diiiieeee!!!!
But when they bloom, they’re pretty. You may hate them, but you know they are. They’re beautiful. And who as a little kid in an area with dandelions hasn’t plucked up little sun-hued and sun-shaped blooms and run off with them? Who hasn’t wondered if they have anything to do with actual lions? Who hasn’t breathlessly waited for them to form those perfect spheres of white fluff that we could carefully pick and then blow on with all our might, trying to scatter the seeds with one blow and ensuring the lawn owner will spend next summer tearing their hair out over yet more dandelions?
Yes. It’s a complicated relationship.
Happily, I do not own a lawn, and furthermore find grass ridiculous, so I can enjoy dandelions without inner conflict. I was particularly delighted to find a set of them displaying several stages of bloom development during a supposed-to-be-winter-but-seemed-awfully-like-spring walk along North Creek.
Here we have the bud.
There are two, very tightly closed. Inside, the awesome unfolding of biology is preparing a bit of beauty for reasons of its own.
And at some point, it’s about ready to burst.
I like how it looks almost exhausted, the bits protecting the flower looking damp and worn out, having done the hard work of bringing a new flower to the brink of existence.
And then it begins to unfurl.
Watching them do this in time lapse is rather remarkable, especially watching it create the seed-head.
I’ll leave off with a little of my own art, ripped from context: rocking in a porch swing moved off the porch, at night, remembering a time before violent death tore ordinary life apart.
Quiet, then, just the creak of wooden joints as they rocked, young leaves rattling sometimes when the breeze gusted. In the distance, louder vehicles on I90 sounded like wind themselves. Bruised grass under the swing posts gave off a scent that had become inextricably entangled with gasoline fumes in her mind since the advent of landscapers with leaf blowers. With baby powder, from all the time Kaitlyn had gone out to play in the freshly-mown grass while she and Stacey sat on the lawn watching her look for surviving dandelions, which hadn’t survived long when she found them, plucked them, came running back to her mother with a bit of botanical sunshine clutched in chubby little hands.
A good memory. And one, I imagine, that might change a person’s relationship with dandelions forever.