Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Dandelion Web

Why do people hate them so?  They are beautiful and harmless and, well, let's find out some more...

(Well, that disproves the whole rant I was going to go on about the internet.)  I learned some interesting stuff in just a couple of minutes.  The word "dandelion" comes from the Old French dent-de-lion, or tooth of the lion because they are so long rooted, or toothy, in gardenspeak.  Cool.  However, in modern french the are called pissenlit (or vernacular pisse au lit).  Literally, piss in the bed.

Why is that and why did it sound so perverse?  Well, the plant, when ingested, is a strong diuretic and is known to aid liver and kidney function, effects that have been known to man since prehistory.  That's cool, too.  Every culture where the plant is indigenous has adopted it into their diet, as well.

When I was a boy, sometime in the Spring, Mrs. B - the Mom next door where I grew up - would send us out with old pillowcases and we'd stuff them full of dandelion blooms and stems.  She had a lot of children of her own and she also elicited the help of all the other kids on our rural road in the farmlands of Ohio.  All I actually remember of the process was the smell, earthy and sharp, on our hands and noses, and the look of piles and piles of that yellow blanketing her garage as she crushed them, by foot, into galvanized tubs.  That last thing I remember is that she put water over them all and they sat for a while.  She was making "Dandelion Wine."  I remember tasting it once and it wasn't very good.  It occurs to me now that she was probably making it for more medicinal reasons that for a pleasure drink.  I did not know that.

I have had them a lot in salads, often with a vinegary hot bacon dressing.  It's actually a classic of French Cuisine, frisee au lardon.

So why do people hate them so in their yards?  I don't get that.  They are the same color as daffodils and everyone loves daffodils.  Also, what if we'd have genetically modified dandelions like we have tulips and tomatoes.  I bet by now we would have something really cool, like broad-leaf dandelions, or bush dandelions, or multi headed ones.  We might have manipulated the colors and now we'd have pink and red and white and even variegated tiger-striped ones as big as a fist.

Where did it all go wrong for the dandelion?  They seem to have a respected history, and a modern importance and yet... people poison them and rip them out of the ground violently and leave them to wither and lose their essence wilting in the summer sun.

I don't get it.

You might remember (although I sort of wish you didn't) that I mentioned how I was going to go on about the internet.  How, you might ask, was I planning to segue from dandelions to the world wide web?  Well, I figured when I went to Google the subject that I would get a lot of misinformation and advertisements and false pages and popups and the like.  However, with "safe-search" on in just a few keystrokes there I was, learning about these friendly weeds.  Cool.

Perhaps the internet is like a dandelion, so misunderstood and not used to it's full potential 

I refuse to bore you with that pedestrian, pedantic and, actually, inane analogy.  I'll  wait on the big internet scoop I've got in my head, it's a secret that I know and you should, too.

Oh all right, I'll tell you:  The internet is one big advertisement.

You know what's wrong with dandelions?  You know what their problem is.  You can't see them, understand them, admire them, because they are lost in that stupid sea of green unending lawn.  Maybe that's how these two seemingly unrelated things are connected.  It is very difficult to see the decency in the web because of this sea of tripe that surrounds it...

Note to self: dandelions and the internet are not analogous.

Without dandelions I wouldn't have the sweet story of Nick calling them "puffballs" because you blow on them and they float away.  Without dandelions I wouldn't have the memory of their delighted faces as they watched those seeds drift of in the wind, happy and free, both seed and boy.  Without dandelions there were be fewer yellow hands and noses and not so many wildflower bouquets for Mom:

Without them I wouldn't have this memory:

Or known this joy:

Or had tears in my eyes as I witnessed this sweet coronation:

And, if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't have a place to share this with you.

Wait!  I did it, I at least reconciled the dandelion and the internet, got them to work together, there at the end where...

Oh nevermind, thanks for stopping by

Here is something Marci might have posted in her '... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...' thingy if it had indeed happened in the backseat and she'd have noticed it and, uh, other explanatory dribble and stuff.

Nick (screaming):  "Epic fail!"

Zack (likewise screaming):  "Banana Town!"

Repeat ad naseum.  Always screaming.

It was super annoying but it had this Waiting for Godot vibe to it, it's weird here...


  1. My favorite picture of Oldest is hi holding a bunch of dandelions at me right in front of his face.

    Now a days we're waiting for them to bloom, because according to Pinterest, the puff balls (you know the white seed balls) burn in multiple colors when you light them on fire.

    Ah, life with boys....

  2. I don't stop by enough here. Every time I do, I fall in love again. I am thankful for many things in my life at this very moment, and reading the poetry of your mind is one of them. I hope you never win that toaster, as selfish as that sounds. And I hope I stop by more often, because I should.


  3. I've eaten dandelions before. I got a belly full of wishes. And kind of gassy.