Little Suns on Stems

Be like a dandelion, whenever they fall apart, they start again. Have hope. ~ Anonymous

Love all creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand within it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.~ Starets Zosima, in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Dandelions make me smile. They were the first backyard flowers I ever picked, and seemed like beautiful, brilliant, little suns on stems. My mom lovingly placed many bedraggled bouquets into vases all around our home.

I picked daisies too, and was delighted that when turned upside down, they became tiny white tutus tinged with rosy pink edges. It was the first thing in my young life that I ever coveted… a daisypetal ballerina skirt. Yes, the “clothing thing” starts pretty young for some of us gals.

Fast-forward 50 years to church (this has absolutely nothing to do with dandelions)… where I helped my very young granddaughter venerate an icon. There happened to be an angel in it… an angel with… red shoes. My granddaughter, stood in deep contemplation (which I assumed to be a pious moment), until she whispered fiercely, “Baba, I want those shoes!” But, I digress, and since there wasn’t (to my knowledge), a local Byzantine Payless Shoes Store on this side of the Bosphorus, we can at least agree the gal “clothing/shoe thing” indeed seems inherent. Let us return again to the topic of dandelions.

I remember being around 4, and handing a fistful of crumpled suns to a visiting, elderly relative. Expecting to hear a grateful thank you, she instead recoiled in horror and hissed, “Weeds!”

What on earth were weeds? They sound terrible… horrible! Determined to defend, I stubbornly objected. “But, God made flowers! How can they be bad?” Of course that didn’t fly well with the visiting relative, and although the incident ended in a stalemate between her and I – God won that round.

Later, as a teen mowing our lawn (under duress), I observed how prolific and tenacious those blessed dandelions could be. They even pop up through cement cracks! Wow. Now that’s perseverance! Oh, that I could be just a little like that!

Whether by chance or design, and through a “herby” friend (who’d scoop up chickweed for a chew), I stumbled upon how healthy and nutritious dandelions are (unsprayed of course)! They’re literally everywhere! God created them, and they’re filled with His goodness. Who knows what other exciting benefits they hold? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, a young grandchild recently wove two dandelion-chain crowns, and solemnly placed one of the diadems on my head. We took a regal selfie together… oblivious to the sticky, white, sap dripping onto our bangs.

I thank God, Who, in His Wisdom and compassion, created the noble, persistent, dandelion – and grandchildren.

Here is a super video on “how to” choose and eat dandelion greens! If you pick them yourself, do make sure they’re unsprayed, and not too big. Otherwise they may be bitter, tough and furry! But when you time it just right, they’re amazing!

May your Lenten Journey be peaceful, fruitful, and green.

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