Embrace all creation

Dandelions are abundant this year—and I love it! The joyful yellow blossoms always have seemed magical to me.
I have fond memories of sitting in a beautiful meadow, as a young girl, making dandelion chains. Then I would hold up a magical seed head and blow it away to who knows where, wishing much as you do on a shooting star.
And dandelions have practical uses. In early spring, when the greens first appear, you can use them to brighten a salad or cook them with a tasty bacon vinegar dressing.
Or, like your grandparents, you could make wine from the blossoms.
Once when we were in seminary and very poor, we entertained our favourite professor and his wife. True, he wasn’t rich, either, but the difference between our financial standings at that point still was rather marked.
We were having a simple yet elegant dinner and I desperately wanted flowers for the table. The only thing growing close by was sunny yellow-headed dandelions.
They looked wonderful in a little black pottery vase. But one word of warning, if you pick dandelions for important guests, do it at the last minute. Like Cinderella, they lose their glamour quickly and decisively.
It’s never been quite clear to me why dandelions are so maligned. Except maybe that they want to grow and add to the beauty of our lives and we, being contrary by nature, are dedicated to growing things that are no prettier than dandelions but don’t want to grow.
Albert Schweitzer is remembered as a brilliant philosopher, physician, musician, clergyman, missionary, and author. The World Book Encyclopedia maintains that “his accomplishments in any one of these fields could be regarded as a full life’s work for one man.”
No wonder we revere him. But I remember Schweitzer more because of his core commitment to “reverence for life.”
Schweitzer’s concept first gripped me in the 1950s when I was struggling with my own philosophy of living. He truly believed that life is a continuum and he never took it unnecessarily—not even the life of a spider.
Some might not agree with Schweitzer but on the other hand, you have to look with admiration at a man who regularly played the great concert halls of Europe and then returned to serve the natives of Africa who so badly needed his healing hand.
And no matter where he was, one person was as important to him as another.
Maybe this doesn’t appear to have much to do with dandelions, but I think it does.
We can view dandelions as dastardly uncontrollable weeds—justifying any amount of toxic poison. Or we can view dandelions, as our grandmothers did, as a wonderful gift of spring.
Reverence for creation embraces all of creation. It seems that when we don’t respect nature, we don’t respect ourselves.
We may discover too late what Albert Schweitzer tried to teach us a century ago. All of life is on a continuum.
Who knows? The fate of the human race irrevocably may be intertwined with that of the dandelion.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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