The lilacs are just starting to bloom. Their aroma mingles with the scent of crab apple blossoms and fresh cut grass. The earth smells fresh and rich with promises of rain. Although the daffodils are past, the tulips are in their prime. Every tree is an explosion of green.
But I have to admit, it’s the lawns where the lush, uncut grass is speckled with the unplanned, uncultivated beauty of dandelions and violets that bring the biggest smile to my face as I walk around my neighborhood.
I still remember how crushed I felt in kindergarten after claiming dandelions as my favorite flower. Another little girl indignantly retorted that dandelions couldn’t be my favorite. They aren’t even a flower. They’re a weed. Her daddy said so.
As an adult I wouldn’t name dandelions as my favorite flower if asked, but they still hold a special place in my heart. I remember picking fistfuls of them for my mom. Hooking them together into crowns, necklaces, and earrings. Stirring them into a pretend soup with bark, acorns, and pine needles while playing house with my sisters. Rubbing their buttery softness on our skin and turning ourselves a sickly shade of yellow. Blowing the white seed tufts, sending them dancing on the wind. Hearing stories of my grandma’s dandelion wine—sad I never got to taste it.
I don’t even particularly like yellow. Too much of its intense brightness makes me more stressed out than happy. I prefer calm, tranquil colors. But even the most brilliant yellow finds it’s place in the dandelion’s perfect fluffy dome. Other flowers wilt so easily or lose their beauty if one petal is damaged. Dandelions are strong, withstanding.
I know many people spend hours and hours and lots of money trying to rid their lawns of dandelions. I can definitely appreciate the beauty and satisfaction of a pristine lawn, precisely mowed and and free of weeds. But I have to admit I smile to myself when I see those uniform expanses of green butted up against a lawn that is a little too shaggy and dotted with my favorite childhood flower.
Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s the tenacity of those little yellow flowers to show up and be seen no matter how many times they’re told they can’t be beautiful, they aren’t wanted, they can’t be loved. They don’t dim their brightness for anyone.
Maybe it’s the way the brilliant yellow of the dandelions contrasts with the vibrant green of the grass and deep purple of the violets. Each makes the other shine more vividly, enriching each other with their differences. Maybe dandelions are just something I’ve come to count on year after year, a sign that Spring is here again offering fresh starts and new life.
Whatever the reason, each day as I walk I find myself hoping the homeowner will wait to mow. I want them to postpone making their lawn look the way it’s supposed to look just one more day. I want to enjoy the fierce beauty of the dandelions again tomorrow.