It’s become an annual tradition. Someone sees me blowing dandelion seeds and says, “Don’t do that.” I ask, “Why do you hate them so much?” And I know that simply raises the question: why do I love them so much? For one thing they’re not actual lions, which are large and scary, and which, if I ever go on a safari in Africa, I hope I’ll only see from a distance. I’d love to go on a safari even though I’m terrified of lions and other large animals, in part because it would be an amazing experience, but mainly because I’d hope to see aardvarks, but that’s another story.
Dandelions are, to me, beautiful intricate flowers that have an amazing ability to come up almost anywhere. I know this technically makes them weeds, but I see them on grassy corners and in vacant lots—places where no one’s growing anything anyway, so there’s no harm in them being there. I also believe the only definition of a “weed” is a plant that grows somewhere you don’t want it. That’s how I know that if I ever followed up on my impulse to plant a pot of dandelions they would all die.
The most common answer I get when I ask what’s wrong with dandelions is that they break up the nice even green of a yard. And my response to that is always, Do you live on a golf course?
To my friends who’ve heard this joke a thousand times already: I’ll come up with a new one when you give me another reason why you dislike dandelions.
I love the flowers, but I also love the seed heads. There’s something deeply satisfying about blowing away dandelion seeds. It seems like a violent act, but it’s spreading life. It’s what the dandelion wants. Go on. You know you want to.