The Weed Called Dandelion
When I was a kid, I loved Dandelions. They were sunny, bright, and fun. I enjoyed looking at the bright yellow heads, seeing them dotted on the neighboring lawns. Then they went to seed, morphing into something else, entirely–fluffy, round, cloud-like. I always connect those two stages of its life to a daisy, and only because of the colors yellow and white. Daisies remind me of my childhood but only because they were so ubiquitous in the 70’s. Other flowers remind me of my parents’ yard and my childhood, but back to Dandelions. Of course, we loved to pick them and blow the seeds, watching them parachute back into the lawn or float down the street. Sometimes freeing them from the cracks in the sidewalk. I hated watching the boys kick them, exploding their puffballs into the air. It always seemed so violent and needless. It also took away the fun of enjoying each stem individually. I liked to pluck them before they went to seed and twirl them around, admiring the sun reflecting off of the yellow. I enjoyed things at a much slower pace as a kid, despite having the energy of youth. I always had a fondness for these “flowers,” despite the fact they are technically considered weeds.
My mom was dismayed by a neighbor who didn’t take the time to weed their lawn. She disliked how the weeds “invaded” our yard, making it look “disgusting.” She was a first-class perfectionist, someone I never stood a chance with, at least in the “real” world. She loved me as her child but things such as my love of the Dandelion, running barefoot in the summer, and the kind of wildness and unbridled joy that is a partner to all that–well, that put me beyond her pale. It was too “dirty” and not “lady-like.”
I didn’t realize that how much I liked Dandelions until recently, when I was talking to someone about Dandelion tea, which I also love. I drink it all the time. I started for a few reasons but I also needed an alternative hot beverage to black coffee. This got thinking about the color yellow, which is something I have a love/hate relationship with. I was drawn to yellow much more as kid and somewhere along the line yellow became less-than-acceptable to me. I didn’t dislike it but it wasn’t a color I’d gravitate toward. Once every few years I’d buy something yellow and really enjoy it. I can think of 4 yellow items off the top of my head–in high school, it was a pair of darker yellow sandals and a bright yellow straw bag. College–cable knit sweater in a lighter shade of mustard yellow. A few years ago, it was a yellow leather bag that had top handles and a cross body strap. It’s shaped like a bucket of sorts with a zipper pocket opening straight down the middle. I really enjoyed theses items, I still have the leather bag and pull it out once in a while.
I’ve bought other yellow items but they don’t have the lasting power those items had and I’m sure it’s because I’m unreconciled to the color yellow in connection to my childhood. Not necessarily because of the Dandelions but they sure got me thinking about my relationship to yellow. I think about that relationship quite a bit, believe it or not. It’s not as if I have any skin in that game, either. I just think it’s something very odd and I can’t figure out why. All I know is there’s something deeper to it. If I figure it out, I may let you know. It may be something horribly embarrassing and maybe I won’t ever share it, carrying around that bit of shame for myself. Who knows.