SPRING…the JOY and the PATHOS of the…DANDELION
It’s truly spring. The sprouting signs would declare the season even if we lacked calendars. In Westmoreland County (PA) the high 80s and low 90s temperature on April 24-25, 2009, were perfect for the Ryan and Sarah Adamosky Rumbaugh’s wedding. In addition to being a friend of the family, I was the ceremony photographer.
Signs other than the temperature indicate we are experiencing spring. The pear tree in our backyard is filled with blossoms, the apple blossoms are coming. The stems of the lilies I planted last fall, the flowers used in my daughter’s July wedding, are growing quite well, thank you. The coltsfeet have blossomed and are sending their seed wherever the wind takes it. The tiger lilies I transplanted last fall along the roadside will produce their orange blossoms soon.
The day after the wedding we were in Cleveland Heights (Ohio) to celebrate the fifth birthday of our oldest grandson, Vince. The weather held, providing a beautiful day for a child’s backyard birthday party. The tree across the road from my son’s house was filled with magnolia blossoms in full bloom (to view photo click on http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3482122462/in/photostream/). My son’s backyard had a group of purple violets next to an abandoned sneaker.
But it had no dandelions.
I discovered the reason when walking my two year old grandson home from church.
My husband and son headed home with Vince, since he needed a necessary-room mighty quickly. I was left to meander home with two-year old Marcus, who, most likely, would want to be carried part way.
Then, suddenly, there was a solution. Marcus, spying a dandelion, eagerly ran to it. He plucked the blossom off and held it in a tight grip while running to a second flower. His one hand became dyed yellow as his other hand became overstuffed.
Fortunately, I had some plastic sandwich bags in my purse. I fished one out, and held it open so that Marcus could empty his hand. He reluctantly did so, and turned immediately to the next plant. Occasionally, he would pick a dandelion with the stem on. He carefully pulled the blossom off, discarded the stem, and placed the blossom in the bag.
My one rule was that Marcus not enter anyone’s yard—his feet had to remain planted on the cement sidewalk. Although the temptation was too great sometimes, and he stretched the rule a bit, he could be redirected to another blossom reachable from the sidewalk.
Soon his bag was half full. Marcus was delighted that his hands were so yellow. When we arrived home, he eagerly showed them to his mother as he presented her with his collection. And a lone violet.
To view photos clilck on:
I was surprised that he agreed so easily to wash his hands. Soon they were his regular shade, and he ran off to join the children who were coming to his older brother’s birthday party.
We left Cleveland Heights after the party, returning home at 10:30 p.m. Upon awakening Monday morning, I sat on our patio in beautiful weather, looking over our front yard. Yes, there were numerous yellow spots. Dandelions. I did what I had to do. I gathered my bucket and dandelion-removal tool, and attacked the plants in my continuing war to maintain a dandelion-free front yard. Using herbicides is not an option for us. We care too much for the watershed where we live. We want to maintain clean water for our children, to the seventh generation. The planet is so threatened already.
So the plant that provided so much joy for Marcus offers me an opportunity to exercise as I dig them off my lawn. And both of us end up with yellow hands.
Spring…the joy and pathos of the…DANDELION.
ADDITIONAL READING on Spring: