It felt like a silly moment when imagination chose to take over and release me from whatever the serious topic on my mind. Nature knows just how to interrupt by getting us to notice, to deeply observe and, more importantly, to revel in it.
The grass surrounding the paths of a park I frequent has been filled with dandelions in their various stages of bloom. They seem to take turns, making sure they prolong their bright yellow presence. They intentionally spread out the disbursement of their seeds that will assure offspring providing weeks of beauty next year.
Maybe it came from my favorite quote from Madeleine L’Engle about being all the ages we have been as well as the age we are.
Maybe it came from having worked with young children for so long.
Maybe it came from being almost all gray.
Who can know what triggers our imagination?
Suddenly, I saw all the small bright yellow dandelions as children and the tall gray fluffy ones as my generation.
Or perhaps I saw one small bright yellow dandelion as me as a child and a tall gray fluffy one as me now, rather stunned by how fast life has gone.
It then quickly went from thinking individually to taking in the whole field and musing about how important community is.
Community quickly transitioned into seeing how important it is, within community, to have intergenerational connections.
Each time I walk the paths, the dandelions, now my companions, look up at me to see what else I might intuit from their presence.
After my initial attention, they inspired me to do a bit of research.
It can take up to 30 days for one dandelion to go from growing its beautiful yellow bloom to seeds blowing in the wind or preparing to do so.
While we think of the dandelion as one flower, the bright yellow is composed of up to hundreds of florets, of individual flowers.
But this next part is what made me marvel at the brilliance of nature, not just in color but in intelligence.
The yellow bloom grows to only a short height, staying close to the ground.
When the bloom matures, and in perfect timing, it folds itself closed again.
It stays closed while the stem grows taller.
When the stem is tall enough, the gorgeous round ball of gray fluff gradually opens, now with enough expanse around it to allow the hundreds of seeds to blow freely to the place where they will bloom next year. If the dandelion remained short, the opportunity for flying free in the fullness of maturity would not happen.
Ah, the metaphors!
Is your own imagination being awakened?
I think I will wait and add more to this when I share how the thistles have joined the dandelions. The thistles have jumped in as collaborators in the commitment to call me into the joy, the uniqueness, the patterns, the intelligence, the cycles and so much more of that which surrounds me as I walk. My first steps onto the path are often too connected to my brain, perhaps wondering what to write next.
“Look at us, look at us and we will show you.”
The flowers call me to honor their teaching.
They fill me with gratefulness for what they have to say. They even make me laugh.
And don’t forget, you and I can always pick a tall, wise, fluffy gray dandelion, blow the seeds, and make a wish. It loves being in cahoots with us!
If you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to share an “it’s just a weed” thought.