A Love Letter to Dandelions

Dear Dandelion,
You must have been the first flower I knew by name.  I remember making crowns of your blossoms, and wishing on your seeds, as my breath against their feathery parachutes launched them to unknown adventures.
Sunlight through a dandelion
Growing up, I didn’t know your properties or constituents, or that you could nourish and support.  But you were always welcome in our yard, because you’re cheerful and friendly, and we’re all better off with more cheer and more friendship.

Now, I can’t get enough of you.  Every time I see dandelions pop up where they’re unwelcome – without angst, or resentment, or any ill feelings – I’m filled with hope at the sight of such good-natured tenacity.
Maskrosor 01
When people pull you up and throw you away – or poison you – I think they must be mad.  A lawn without dandelions looks bereft.  Don’t they know how you can help our bodies take up nutrients and let go of toxins?  Don’t they know how tasty you are?  Don’t they know you’ll come back anyway?

I made a lot of wishes last year, and I’m watching them come up already.  You’re the first flower that’s bloomed in my yard this spring, in a crack between front stoop and driveway.  I’m enjoying chai brewed with last year’s roots.  I’m looking forward to my first salad with dandelion greens, and I think I’ll pick some tomorrow.

Yours always, with many thanks,
Kristen

PS:  I’ll vote for you.  #dandelionlove

Taraxacum from Bulgaria


Wildflowers in the Bog (Doolin, Ireland)

As the foliage here in Vermont starts to take on a golden tint, I’m still remembering the lush midsummer wildflowers of Doolin.  Here are a few photos, taken while walking through the bogland above the village.

Dandelion and, I believe, wild thyme.  Dandelions seemed much less prevalent in Doolin than in my hometown.  Perhaps because they thrive on challenges, and the locals in Doolin don’t fight them the way we do in the States!

Nettle and dock together:  The irritant and the anecdote.  (Of course, nettle is itself an anecdote for a lot of ills!)

Honeysuckle mandalas.

This is a thistle.

Galway’s Welcome Party

Yarrow

 My first destination within Ireland was Galway.  When I worked there in ’05, Galway really felt like home to me.  But when I returned for a couple weeks in ’07, I felt out of place – like revisiting your old college campus and realizing that most of your acquaintances have cycled out, plus you don’t have a purposeful reason to be there anymore.  This year, though, I was surprised by what made me feel really at home:  The plants.

Plantain!

Every morning I recognized new herbs on the path from my friends’ house into town.  First yarrow, then plantain, then St. John’s wort…  During the Apprentice program at Sage Mountain, these were plants I was too shy to admit I had little idea how to find.  We’d walk by some plantain on an ID walk, and the teacher would casually talk about the parallel veins and healing properties of the plant, figuring we all knew what plantain looked like, since it’s so common.  I nodded and figured I’d look it up later, so it wasn’t until my trip to Ireland that plantain and I were properly “introduced.”  It was so much fun to see these plants – which I’ve been using dried in teas and oils and tinctures – growing live and wild all over the place!