Yellow is Coming

The world is coming alive, with the crocus, hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, and marsh marigold in all their glory. Cherry blossoms are in bloom, like a sweet white swath announcing that Spring is here, her voice hesitant at first as she clears away winter’s clutter. Dandelions are coming. I can feel it in my bones, and I can’t wait. I know some of you go to war with dandelions every spring and many will consider me the enemy but …

Dandelions are, as I have said before, sunshine growing on the ground. No one can deny that, not even the dandelion haters among us. We know dandelions are beneficial for all the simple reasons of attracting pollinators and providing nutrition for those pollinators early in the spring before other plants have fully wakened. Their tap root brings nutrients to the surface from deep in the soil for the benefit of the dandelion and other plants. Dandelions aerate the soil and improve poor soil with their presence. These are all facts we are familiar with yet so many of us find the dandelion a nuisance. I have a friend who uses her vacuum to suck up dandelions when they have gone to seed, before the wind has given them flight. We don’t discuss her war tactics; instead, we agree to disagree. The dandelion was first brought to North America from Europe because of their medicinal qualities, yet here we are centuries later calling it a weed and wrestling for power to achieve its demise.

The dandelion has been the symbol of hope, healing, and resilience for many cultures for generations upon generations. It is also a symbol of simplicity. The dandelions’ explosion of colour in early spring means the return of life, of rebirth. Its transformation from bold yellow to the delicate and intricate design of its seed stage reminds us of the natural beauty of aging. Most of us as children blew upon those clusters of seeds, making a wish as we did so, our eyes squeezed shut, our hearts hopeful.

A dandelion can appear in the most unlikely of places – in a crack in the sidewalk, in a notch in a brick. They are tenacious, a reminder that we don’t need much to bloom. Dandelions don’t require elaborate well-tended garden spaces in which to grow, with rows of precision and artistic expression. They are willing to erupt anywhere, any space is adequate for the dandelion to grace us with its presence. They are whimsical, reminding us to look to the child that sleeps within us. They are determined, not likely to surrender in defeat, a good role model for sure.

Our time with the dandelion is brief. A good wind can carry dandelion seed more than sixty miles, but most of the seed falls within ten yards of the plant. The concept of this makes me think of my children, of all our children. Our children occupy the largest space in our hearts, but they grow quickly, they spread their wings to fly, their reliance and their dependency on us is all too brief. We let them grow. Like the dandelion, we let the wind catch them as they shift from their beautiful yellow perfection into a design that only magic can create.