Written Gem: Ode to Dandelions

Now that I’m not working in a downtown core any more, I’ve been relishing the ten minute walk through suburbia to my morning classes, even if it’s obscenely early by night owl university standards. Not only do I feel virtuous for getting in this (admittedly brief) exercise in (at least!) twice a day, I’m really enjoying the scenery.

You see, Mother Nature has graciously allowed Canada to escape from one of our two seasons, Winter, and ushered us into our second one, Construction. As the choking dust comes with sunshine and blue skies (being necessary for the work), and the loud noise gives me an excuse not to work during the day, I’m thoroughly enjoying this season. But my favourite part of the season are the flowers.

My love affair with flowers is a life long affair, one that quite literally started in the cradle with my name flower, which was also my grandfather’s favourite flower. I love the bright, cheerful bursts of colours, I love the their sweet scents, and most of all, I love the smile they put on everyone’s faces (mine most of all). If I’ve inherited my mom’s green thumb, I fully plan on creating an extravagantly smelly flower garden that she would probably turn her nose up at, my mom’s pride and joy being her vegetable garden that I hope my mint hasn’t strangled yet. But as I love lilacs, and orchids, and peonies, and lilies, and most of all, roses (I have an especial fondness for the coral pink ones) and as I’m blessed with no allergies (except for a really weird metal one across the bridge of my nose), I see no reason not to enjoy burying my nose in flowers and indulging that habit whenever practical.

I can’t do this in the morning, being a habitual night-owl, and thus usually late to my morning classes. But there are little white tree flowers (No, I am not a science student, I am a Math one for a reason) that always make me smile, and a general profusion of green with little bits of colour peeping out makes me want to throw my books away and engage in a treasure hunt (and hope I end up finding more than last night’s solo cups. I do live in a University Town). On the way home, I do enjoy indulging in a bit of a treasure hunt and smell the lilacs hidden in that cul-de-sac, and the roses stuffed in a wine bottle on my desk (I know, so cultured, right?).

But all the showy, fragrant blooms aside, dandelions hold a certain special place in my heart. They’re not smelly or especially extravagant, but they’re so bright and cheerful, and they’re everywhere, this time of year, including all through the park I walk through to get home. To me (since I don’t own a perfectly manicured lawn), a field of blooming dandelions an invitation to roll around in sunshine (which, due to my dignified and advanced years and more respect for my sartorial standards, I can’t do any more, but I wish I could). And I love when they go to seed. Instead of an invitation to roll around in sunshine, it’s an invitation to make a million wishes, and that’s an invitation I do take up. My boyfriend laughs himself silly over me stopping a conversation to run through a field, which I do regularly while the fields last.

Because they’re everywhere, dandelions are also memory markers for me. They mark when my dad was trying to teach me how to ride a bike by basically just pushing me down a grassy hill of dandelions yelling “Peddle! Peddle!” at me. They were there when my mom laughed her head off at the face I made when I accidentally chewed on dandelion leaves instead of the more edible leaves she was trying to teach me to forage (In the case of a zombie apocalypse, my family is the first people I’d like to have on my team. Sorry dearheart). They were there when I played games like making innocent, virginal floral crowns, or the “Do you like butter?” judgements and the more blood thirsty “Mary had a baby and her head popped off” one. Dandelions are a metaphorical smorgasboard to me; signifying innocence and mischief, childhood and sunshine, mistakes and perfection, perseverance and ephemeralities.

Recently, though, I came home from school to find the mat of yellow dandelions in our front yard had been mowed down by a house management company that doesn’t believe in fields of sunshine. I was really looking forward to the twirling bit. But then, upon closer inspection, I realize that the field of dandelions had actually been hiding a field of clovers and was immediately subsumed by the urge to sit down then and there (in the middle of the day in broad daylight) and look for a four leaf clover. My schedule being what it is, I didn’t, but clovers last longer than dandelions, so it’s there for me in the future, when I get a breath or the world was a little too insane. I’m sure there’s a metaphor buried somewhere in there, about luck being hidden or perserverence leads to luck or something, but really, it’s just a nice image.

I suppose that’s why I’m writing this post, even though I have so much work to do. I have a hundred tests to write, a thousand assignments to finish, and a million notes to make, but I’m pounding away on this keyboard anyway, writing about trivialities, because I badly need to. I need to remember the sunshine and blue skies that I rarely see because my nose is constantly in the grindstone. I need to cling to childhood memories of fun and play when all I can remember is the never-ending slog of work. And most of all, I need to roll around in the fields of sunshine and wishes in my heart while my mind is buried in the fields of papers and books.

Written gems are pieces of my life, polished and shined up a bit. Read more here.