Melinda Johnson is the author of Letters to Saint Lydia and The Other Side of the Bonfire, and an avid supporter of the Orthodox writing community. Melinda earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with minors in Education and Journalism, from the University of Richmond, and a Master of Arts in English Literature from The College of William and Mary. She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.
I like dandelions.
Dandelions are weeds, and I know that, but what is a weed, after all? A weed is something you didn’t plant and don’t want. By that definition, liverwurst is a weed.
I don’t plant dandelions, but I do like them. They are so happy! They spring up with no help from anyone, and turn their faces to the sun. They’re soft and colorful, and they look great with green grass. And then they turn fluffy and gray, and you can take wonderful photos of your little ones trying to blow the seeds away. Cheeks pooched. Eyes crossed. Spitting on the dandelion by accident.
I have mowed down my share of dandelions, especially during the years when I was the one doing all the mowing, charging back and forth across my yard, muttering curses on the sitting president du jour for deploying the other lawn mower.
But I still like dandelions. Especially now that the other lawn mower has hired real lawn mowers, and I can look at the dandelions and pat their fuzzy little faces and leave the mowing to men with a truck and mowers that don’t have long electrical cords attached to them.
Loving dandelions makes me think about things. You aren’t supposed to love dandelions. To love them and admit it is a form of rebellion, albeit a tiny one.
When I was a teen, rebellion had nothing to do with dandelions. At all. It had much more to do with dating men who looked like that guy in The Breakfast Club and probably owned a motorcycle and would definitely make out with you just to steal your homework answers.
But now, dating that guy looks like the ultimate act of conformity. Liking dandelions is much more rebellious. Rebellion is turning your back on pressure. The more you are pushed to do something, the more refusing to do it is a rebellion. The whole impetus of popular culture is driving you to date that guy now, and to poke fun at people who won’t. So really, dating him is the ultimate cop-out cave-in erasure of your soul.
To cherish even the smallest, most fragile beauty and thank its Maker can be an act of raw, unsupported courage.
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