Citizen Wausau

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Dandelions Cause Ruminations

by on May 16th, 2008

The other day when I was pushing my children around the neighborhood in a stroller, I stopped and stooped next to my two-year-old son in the front seat.

“Look, Ben! Dandelions!”

I carefully gathered a toddler-sized fistful of the yellow bits of sunshine and presented them to Ben for him to explore and admire. A quiet “wow” look spread across his face, and then he stuck one in his mouth, quickly pulling it out, disgusted by the taste.

I was lost in the sentimentality of dandelions. I remembered my first fistful of dandelions lovingly plucked by Mikey Rogers when I was five as we walked along the railroad tracks by the old Wausau East. That made him my boyfriend, and I tried holding his hand. I think he regretted not giving them to his mom instead.

So pardon me that when dandelion season comes, I get a little misty recalling the bundles of mama-had-a-baby-and-the-head-popped-off flowers I gave to my own mother who displayed them proudly in a coffee mug by the kitchen sink. Forgive me if I spend a few minutes during the day, blowing the dandelion fluff into the breeze, watching the tiny parachutes carry the seeds across the neighborhood.

Today I noticed my next-door neighbor home from work early. In shorts and a nylon jacket, he crouched over his lawn, intent on something. I try not to judge the eccentricities of my fellow man, so I went on with my gardening. Later, when I passed by his yard on one of my ubiquitous stroller walks, I was absolutely horrified to see that he had been pulling out all of his dandelions, leaving them scattered on the grass to pick up later. I honestly had a little frown on my face as I walked past, ruminating over the emptiness of the man’s soul.

What sends me on a charming trip down memory lane is an eyesore to my neighbor. Perhaps if I had any notion of the blessings of a perfectly manicured lawn, I’d feel differently, but I love the dandelions and little purple flowers that shoot up through the grass. They’re like little happy surprises, way more attractive than boring old grass.

Do you hate dandelions and heartlessly call them weeds? Or do you enjoy the yellow balls of happiness when they arrive? Be honest. I won’t think you are a monster, I promise.

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