Dandelions in lawn and life.

As the spring arrive these past few weeks and the opportunity arose to attend to the yard, the standard spattering of yellow dandelions crept up in certain locations. "I hate dandelions" I said to myself, my wife, the boys, and the yard. Knowing the damage that chemicals cause to this ecosystem and especially the stream below us that runs to the St. Joseph River I, without anger, urgency or spite garnered them with the green metal weed puller by hand. Individually plucked, to join the collection for composting and returning nutrients to others as they decompose. I didn't remove them all and in some cases just mowed over them. Knowing that their essence remains in the soil of our rain touched green grass. I hate dandelions.

Then on a cloudy but dry and breezy afternoon I read that the dandelion is smiling at me from the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh. It is love of that which nature has provided for us to enjoy, to share, to care for and embrace. Although the dandelion may be removed from one area of a sea of green grass, its brothers in areas that are left to God's plan do no harm there. In the dandelion's removal from an area it has encroached upon, if it is returned to the compost, or tossed gently into the ravine it then in turn provides nutrients and life to others. The dandelion smiles at us from amidst the lawn because the lawn is not fully healthy (or there would be no dandelions there, but elsewhere). The dandelion also attracts ladybugs, aerates the soil with its long roots and its raw leaves if eaten provide a richness in beta-carotene and vitamins C & A to those who partake.

My friend the dandelion, I'm sorry for having accepted a thought about you that didn't grant you the full measure of your value and worth to this life. You have your place and purpose, and the label of weed does you no justice. What labels in our hearts and minds have we and others placed there that might be plucked and discarded improperly? Is the garden of our mind accepting of the worth of what others may call weeds, but still has value and worth in our own growth and health? How little we appreciate the full value of the moment, even a single thought that is quickly pushed aside as interference, a distraction, or out of place amidst the artificiality of perfect grass.

I love dandelions because they speak to me of the nature of the yard and garden that provides me joy, when I am listening. Tending to one's garden and yard whether in nature or internally should simply be a daily occurrence in our lives, even if only for a few moments. Otherwise we become over run by that which neither intended or desire for ourselves and those we love.

(Early May, 2009)

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