Yesterday it was there with its full, spiky head in the flower bed next to the lawn. Today, only a few seeds remain on the stalk. The rest have been scattered. On close inspection, I find several on the lawn. I don't know why I always want to leave the dandelions be. The neighbors all take great pains to eliminate them from their lawns. I like their little yellow flowers and their spiky heads. Even their name is pleasing to me. Dandelion. The showy little weed. The king of the lawn. Let the seeds sprout! Only the naive eye is fooled into thinking that there is perfection in a weedless lawn.
As children, we always blew dandelion heads for luck. To strip them bare with one breath was considered very good luck. A summer without dandelions would have been a disaster for us, then. There were other plants we enjoyed, as well. There was one weed, whose name I never knew, but which we called the scissors plant. It bore green spikes about two inches long. We would make a small hole near the bottom of one spike, and insert another spike through the hole, and the pair of them would work like scissors. It was a pointless, useless exercise. I probably did it a hundred times a year.
Uselessness is probably the essence of childhood. If an activity is not seen by adults as useless, it isn't any fun. Being a kid is like being a weed, I suppose. You just run wild until somebody figures out how to cultivate you, or decides that you can't be cultivated and just uproots you. Sooner or later, most of us end up as part of that boring suburban lawn. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like the dandelion. Just by being itself, it spoils all those careful plans and brings a bit of color to the bland parts of the world. Natures little tagger, filling the blank spaces with artless life.