When is it that dandelions transform from magical flowers to annoying weeds? As kids, we would chase after the coveted dandelions hoping we might be the lucky one to get to blow those whimsical petals into the sun-drenched sky. Their tiny filaments scattered like pixie sticks until the tug of the breeze carried them out of sight.
Not so any more. I pulled into the driveway yesterday afternoon and, sure enough, three of these little beauties had taken root right in the front of the flower bed. Certain that our retired neighbor with his immaculate garden had already spied our newest lawn ornaments, I started pulling.
While I dried my hair this morning, Lydia took a box of Band-Aids she had proudly confiscated and, in true one-year-old fashion, proceeded to take out each individual Band-Aid for careful inspection. She proceeded to pull up a few inches of the bath rug and place one underneath it. She kept moving around the perimeter of the rug placing each Band-Aid carefully in position. Upon making the entire circumference, she began pulling each one out so she could start again. Over and over she went around that brown bath rug with her Band-Aids living in her own imaginary world. Those Band-Aids could have been anything.
My Band-Aids are food. Summer mornings at my grandparent’s farm were spent picking veggies in the garden, but summer afternoons were the best. We brought the day’s harvest into the dining room where I set up my farmer’s market. I took great pride in separating each specimen into baskets gathered around the house. I remember eggplants as dark as the night sky, fiery jalapenos and bell peppers brighter than a box of highlighters. Mamaw would come through my market and place her selections in a bag while I measured each one on Papaw’s old metal scale. During a recent visit, I found a book, and in it were some of the little slips of paper with my childish scribbles that served as her receipt.
I don’t know what turns dandelions into weeds. Maybe it’s mortgages or losing someone you love. Maybe it’s the fear of going for a dream and busting your butt. It’s important to find those things that stir up within us the ability to dream and believe and risk something. My imagination still has a home in my taste buds. The kitchen is my playground, and feta, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, hummus and Brie… those are my dandelions.