Dandelions and Other Beautiful Weeds
They’re actually quite beautiful really, dandelions.
Their bright yellow flowers signal the greening of the world that comes every spring. Most people consider dandelions an unwanted, invasive, ugly weed, but they are actually quite lovely. If you really look at them.
Dandelions are symbols of rebirth and of childhood. The first flower I picked for my mom was a dandelion; I picked five or six and she put them in a glass of water; she was so pleased with me for thinking of her.
I suppose we all picked dandelions for our moms when we were kids. We didn’t know or care they were weeds then. In our innocence we saw only the beauty in their bright, yellow flowers.
How sad we become so complex as adults that our idea of beauty becomes so narrow and so wrong. There is beauty all around us but our own complexities are piled so high we rarely notice unless we think the beauty we notice could benefit us in some way. A man. A woman. A painting. A statue. We only notice the beauty that might bring some benefit — some reward to us. It’s the selfish, yet so telling “look what I’ve got” desire inside us. It’s a hard to get away from that “look what I’ve got” desire, isn’t it? We’ve all experienced it – it’s a difficult desire to quell.
Beauty is like a dandelion – we really have only to glance to see its beauty. It’s hard to see dandelions as beautiful, though, if we see them as a weed to be destroyed… lest they ruin the pristine, plush green of our lawn. But a field of buttercup-yellow dandelions is a dazzlingly beautiful sight.
Some beautiful things are always there or us to see every day — the endless canopy of stars twinkling on a cool, clear night. The sunrise can bring majestic beauty to each morning but we rarely take notice – it brings no benefit, only a reminder that we’re late or that we have to get up and begin another day. Yet the benefit it brings is the gift of a new day, a new day we can use to improve ourselves and be a little kinder to others. We don’t have an unlimited supply of new days, yet most mornings we awaken and we don’t give a thought to the gift we receive. Each of us will have that last new day, maybe then we’ll look back with regret that we didn’t pay attention to the symphony of sunrise that played for us each dawn but we nonetheless ignore.
It is ever too late to recognize the beauty we ignore? I wish I knew the answer to that. One thing I do know is that there is beauty in everything around us if we care to look beneath the surface.
Not everything is as it seems to be.
Many worthy and beautiful things are hidden from our eyes. Who finds beauty in a very old person? Not many. Yet there is beauty in wisdom, but it’s very hard to see – you have to look beyond those aging eyes and wrinkle face to see it. Who finds beauty in an extremely obese person – like the one who waddles down the aisle in front of us in a grocery store? Not me and not many others either. But there just might be a golden heart inside that grossly misshapen body – maybe no one sees it because no one bothers to look beneath the surface.
When I think about it, I realize that I often think of unattractive things as weeds – and probably you do too. Just weeds in our lives and of no consequence. He or she is ugly we might say. Is he or she just a weed at which we avoid looking? For all we know they may well be far kinder than we are or than those beautiful people we call our husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, or best friends. That’s an ugly house, we might say, yet it may be the most wonderful home to a most beautiful family who shares a great love and a familial bond far greater than any we’ve ever known.
To some the world is poxy with weeds: To the powerful the weak may be weeds, to the rich the poor may be weeds, to the healthy the sick may be weeds, to the beautiful the ugly may be weeds. We may consider those whose backgrounds or colors or religions are not the same as ours as weeds. Some working people consider those on welfare weeds — lazy, lacking, weeds. We grow up and we stop looking and stop seeing the best in things.
We lose the ability to see the dandelion as beautiful flower and instead we see it as just another unwanted weed.
So much of the beauty in our world is hidden in the things we may consider weeds. As children we picked dandelions and gave them to our moms as and thought of them as lovely gifts – and they were. But it didn’t take us long to learn that dandelions are not really pretty at all because they are just weeds. Our perspective changes and we become blinded by growing up and the loss of simplicity. The more complex we become the less we look beyond the surface of things and the less beauty we see. We judge beauty differently than children because, I think, we become selfish.
There so many beautiful things in the world that we simply don’t see because we simply don’t look. There is so much beauty hidden in the world in those things we consider weeds.
There is beauty all around if we only care to look. It is true of with the moon and the sunset and the hawk on a wire and the bees and cat tails. It is true with old ladies and old friends and old aunties with stories from long ago. It is true with old books and old teddy bears and ancient barns.
There are beautiful things all around us. All we have to do is take the blindfold off of our eyes and look.
Now when I see dandelions in someone’s yard I wonder what method will be used to kill them. Will it be poison or will they be plucked out of the ground and tossed in the garbage?
I wonder how many beautiful things I miss every day? I wonder how much beauty I’ve missed because much of what I see I consider to be weeds.
Children are innocent and full of wonder and because they are they can see flowers where we see only weeds.
It just occurred to me that spring is well on its way to summer and I’ve yet to notice a single blossom. I’ve been too busy to notice, my mind too confused to care, my spirit bound with worry. I’ll never see the tulips or the daffodils of this spring — maybe next spring I’ll see them. But one of these years there will not be a next spring and if miss the tulips and daffodils that year, I will never see the beauty of a daffodil or tulip again.
I guess it won’t make any different the year I don’t have a spring. I’ll be part of the Earth, the sky, the stars, the clouds, the oceans, the cosmos. I’ll be taken back from where I came — that a nebulous ephemeral spinning cloud of dust and gas that swirls majestically between the galaxies waiting for gravity to spin it into a star.
May I could just start all over again. On days like these, I wish I could.
Now that I think of it, I don’t recall seeing the pretty yellow dandelions this year either But that’s okay. I bet a lot of children noticed and made their moms gifts of a bunch of them. At least somethings are still right in the world.
It’s too bad that children have to grow up or at least it’s too bad that adults aren’t a little more like children. I guess, though, they are. Adults keep all a child’s bad characteristics and none of the good. Adults are possessive like children – most don’t like to share. Adults are impatient like children – they want what they want when they want it.
But children can see beauty in weeds. All kinds of weeds. They find the find the beauty in people of all ages and they find beauty in ugly and overweight and very old people too. It’s too bad we have to grow up without the ability to see the beautiful things that are hidden inside. It’s too bad we have to grow up and never again see the beauty in the weeds that grow all around us.
The next time I see dandelions, I’m going to pick a few and put them in a glass of water. I don’t know what good it will do. But it won’t hurt anything and I’ll remember when I pick some dandelions for mom and made her smile. I’ll try to remember, but almost assuredly won’t to look deeper for the beauty that is all around me but hidden in the weeds that grow everywhere.
Maybe dandelions will make me smile again someday.