The rains have come, and everything looks lush and green, especially our front and back lawns. Seeds blown over from the open space behind us last spring and summer have taken root. Thistles and dandelions are sprouting like tares in a wheat field – only in this case a lawn. Did you know dandelion seeds travel up to five miles before landing? No wonder they are everywhere!
I’m not quite sure who decided thistles (which are beautiful in bloom) and dandelions were the enemy to gardeners. An M.D. of internal medicine put me on a regimen of milk thistle to improve liver function. My blood tests returned to normal. And, as for the much-hated dandelion, it’s from the same family as the sunflower, a “weed” I love and attempt to grow every year. (The only ones that survive are the ones the birds planted.)
What is considered a weed anyway? Who decides? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, Shakespeare said. Or was it Aesop? A thistle flower may not smell great, but it is beautiful. Little yellow dandelion flowers are pretty, too. And both offer health benefits.
Up until the 1800s, people saw dandelions as a worthy plant. And it’s no wonder! Every part of the dandelion is edible. One cup of the green stuff offers 535% of your daily recommended vitamin K and 112% of vitamin A. Gold miners used to brew the plant to replace the coffee they couldn’t get or couldn’t afford to buy. Dandelion wine contains antioxidants, vitamins A,B, C and potassium and can serve as a digestive tonic. Maybe people should start removing grass to plant dandelions!
What is the spiritual lesson in all this?
How do we define a “weed”? Is it because they are so common that we miss their intrinsic value? Do we define something good or bad by appearance or character? Which is the tare when we compare a dandelion to blades of grass?
Apply those same questions to our relationships.
We live in a weedy, wonderful world, don’t we?