The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 20, 2013

The joy of dandelions

Keeping the Faith


— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published May 9, 2001. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.



Although I mowed grass only two days ago, hundreds of tall dandelion puff balls stand at attention all over my yard.

Unlike true lawn enthusiasts, I don’t spend every spare moment spraying weed killer on dandelions or plucking them up by their tough, elastic, seemingly unending little roots.

I heard a story last week about a man who tried frantically to remove every single yellow tuft from his yard. He used every gadget and chemical on the market, but, try as he might, the dandelions found a way to flourish.

Exasperated, the man fired off a letter to an agricultural agent, listing all the things he had done to eliminate the pesky plants and begging the expert for a permanent solution.

A week or so later, the agent replied, “Well, sir, it sounds to me like you may just have to get used to having a few dandelions in your yard.”

That’s what I’ve done. I’ve not only made peace with them; I’ve found them to be good object lessons for life.

I actually have a tender spot in my heart for all those bright yellow blooms sprinkled across my yard. They add color, and I have to admire the little scutters for their tenacity. No matter how often I mow them down, they keep coming back, and they don’t seem to hold a grudge.

Dandelions remind me of the balance of good and bad things that help stabilize our lives. The flowers are pretty; the seed balls are a nuisance. You can’t have the pretty color without enduring the pollen puffs that perpetuate new life.

Like dandelions, we each have good traits and bad ones, and our family members and friends must accept the weed that comes with the flower.

Every circumstance and situation has its ups and downs, and every good experience is usually attached to something not so nice.

Amid pain and pleasure we find boundaries, and we learn to practice the give-and-take that is so vital to good relationships.

Dandelions thrive so well because they have deep roots. They remind me to sink my roots deeper into things that really count. Truth, faith, integrity, sincerity, love and generosity are the kinds of anchors I want for my soul.

The plant’s relentless pursuit of life inspires me to keep trying, to keep growing and to remain true to my identity, no matter how many lawnmowers and weed killers come my way.

Those little yellow tufts remind me to capture the joy of each moment. Some blooms, like the joys in life, may not be allowed to flourish more than a day, so I must enjoy them to their fullest while they last.

The plight of the dandelion helps rid me of the need to try to stamp out the unsavory qualities in other people. I’m learning to focus more on the blooms and pay less attention to their unattractive stems and leaves.

As for the dandelions themselves, well, I have lots of them, in my life as well as in my yard.

And you know what? I’m becoming rather fond of all of them.