The dandelion is a weed. It infiltrates lawns, gardens, flower pots. It doesn’t discriminate. The yellow pedals indicate a fresh life, a fresh flower. As the white puff appears, the second stage of life has begun. Each seed has a place in the orb, creating the illusion of a ball. Creating an illusion of a whole being.
The seeds cling to the stem with a delicate ambivalence. They are held in the palm of nature’s whimsy. A gust of wind could force the seeds to hang on the invisible hand that carries them to places unseen. A bird–hopping along the ground, dried grass hanging from its beak–bends the dandelion stem with a feather-covered belly. The earth worm, struggling to the surface after a mid-summer afternoon’s storm, slithers through the newly dampened whiteness that lies in its dirt path.
The seeds venture in directions unknown. The mother stem loses its children. The once yellow flower now shows its weakness as it can no longer grasp at the very things that gave it its beauty. Yet its weakness is its greatest strength. The ability to let go of the very thing it spawned–solely for the success of each of her offspring and not of her own–is admirable. The stem, void of its halo of white, withers with the grief of never knowing.
It will never know what the seeds’ purposes were. Will their life trajectories be as full as the solitary seed that was the basis of the mother flower’s soul? Will they be carried away to unlivable places? Will they land no further than a few paces from the mother plant, providing the genealogy any parent would dream for the field of yellow.
No definite answers return to the dandelion. She may never know the purpose of having so many seeds, of the loosening of her grasp on their tiny stems, of their final landing places. Before she can recognize her babies in the grass, her stem will have wilted.
Yet, the liberated seeds all have a purpose. Some may nourish a crawling creature. Some grow to adult proportions to meet the fate of their parent. Some survive the blades of the human-riding-machines as they plow the field of towering green into a landscape of shreds and piles. But they all serve an ambition unseen.
The dandelion–the weed–is clever, strong, and beautiful when seen amongst the sea of color. Only a weed by human decree, it is vital to nature. Its process is remarkable–the yellow closing its presence only to reopen as cotton. It spreads over acres. Each brown wick leaves the safety of home as it releases its grip. The seeds, numbering up to 2000 on a single plant, with a fleeting dependency to create a magical ball, find ultimate independence.
The white parachute delivers it to the breeze, and gently places it where it was meant to be.