Dandelion

June 2, 2009
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The ants tickle our ankles, a minor disturbance. The soft grass brushes gently against our forearms and stains our knees. The heat glares down on our tan necks as we search for our treasure. And at last, “I found some!” The little yellow weeds really weren’t that hard to find, but we were pretending after all. My friend and I jump up and race to the spot; nothing but tiny stumps remain where the tiny flowers grew. We imagine we are doctors, using our newfound materials to make our skin healthier by smearing them across our faces and legs. We become jewelers, crafting rings, bracelets, and necklaces from the hollow stems. We paint golden pictures on the old wood of the play set. My friend and I laugh as we are chemists, mixing a reaction and wizards, brewing a potion in our plastic buckets.

I remember these carefree days of childhood with a sigh as I walk through the crowded halls of high school. I pull open my locker to the sea of books at the bottom: Spanish III, Honors English III, Drawing III sketchbooks, Honors Pre-Calc, AP Chem. And the sad part is, only half of the mountain is lying at my feet; my bag hangs taut from the hook. I shut the door to the familiar metallic clash and make my way to AP Chemistry. I find my seat, take a glimpse at the board, and get started on my homework for tonight that I know won’t be completed unless I do so.

I knew that I had taken on too much this year from the very beginning. Because I did not know where I wanted to go with my career, I signed up for enough of everything to keep my options open. Big mistake. I am a teacher, an athlete, an employee, an oldest brother, a board member, a catholic, and a full time honors student; free time is not in my dictionary. As the dismissal bell rings through the room, disrupting my thoughts, I gather my books, return to my locker, and board the bus with a bulging bag strapped to my shoulders.

The weight of the future is a heavy burden. Many tough decisions must be made. It is easy to get lost in the gloom and uncertainty. I do not know what I want to do with my life. I cannot lay out my options and say “I found one!” But maybe my answers don’t lie in making a decision yet. Maybe it lies in the imagination, needing to be set free. Maybe we spend so much time trying to grow up that we forget to be young. I want to concoct and discover. I long to draw, paint, and construct. But, I don’t need to make the decision now, for it is only when we are young that we can be everything.

Today’s culture has portrayed dandelions as destructive and ugly. I have been blinded by this misconception. The weeds are misunderstood; they are so much more than weeds. It is when we choose kneel down to look at them up close, pick them from the earth, and twirl them in our fingers that we see their beauty. A paint brush, a key ingredient, a medical miracle, a dandelion.





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