It's dandelion season in my corner of the world. Year after year we try to rid our lawn of these invaders, without much success. It's a losing battle, especially if you have kids in your neighborhood.
Because you remember what you do with dandelions, don't you? You pick the biggest, seediest, plumpest ones, you make a wish, and you blow. You watch with delight as the seeds scatter in the wind, some settling back into the grass in front of you, some winging their way to a neighbor's yard. It's immensely satisfying.
I've been spending a lot of time with the dandelions this year because my daughter just discovered them. And though she hasn't figured out how to consistently make the air come out of her mouth when she wants it to (one particularly puffy specimen got a little too close to her mouth, and she spent the next five minutes crying because the downy seeds really just don't taste very good, and they get stuck on your tongue and in your throat like a stubborn hair), she loves the idea of the scattering. Sometimes she ruffles her fingers through the down, watching the seeds leap into the air. Sometimes she toddles from one to the next, picks them gingerly, and hands them to me, gesturing: Blow, mama. So I do, re-seeding our lawn, ensuring that we'll never catch up with the weeds.
Yesterday I found myself thinking about what dandelions can teach us about blogging and about life. Because that's how I roll these days. Here's what I came up with:
Put in a good tap root. One of the reasons dandelions are so hard to take out is because they have a thick, stubborn tap root. They integrate themselves deeply into the soil. You, too, should put in deep roots in the soil of the blogging community. Leave comments. Form relationships. It's from those relationships that your own blog will grow and become fruitful.
Be adaptable. Dandelions start out as those bright yellow flowers that signal the decline of your lawn, then go into hiding and suddenly come back as the cottony balls of fluff we all love. Be willing to acknowledge when change might be a good thing, and might even allow you to reach a wider audience, or be a more effective writer. Metamorphosis doesn't mean you've lost yourself, if you have deep roots.
Prepare to produce lots of seeds. If every dandelion seed my children and I blew into our yard took root, we would have no lawn. Somehow, nature has a sense of balance, and some of them never reach the soil, or die untimely deaths by the lawnmower, or don't get what they need to survive. You'll probably write a lot; sometimes a post will strike a chord with your readers, and sometimes not. Know that if you write enough, eventually something will take root. (This is one piece of advice I really ought to follow more often myself.)
Cover as much ground as you are willing. If you stretch yourself, you may find that you've taken root in new communities entirely, ones that will further pollinate your ideas. Take a risk, and go long every once in a while.
Weeds are beautiful, too. Maybe they're an invasive nuisance, but
have you ever been given a small bouquet of dandelion flowers? They're as lovely and cheerful as they are hardy. So maybe your post isn't exactly the perfect thing you thought it would be. Chances are it will still be meaningful to someone. Don't discount your "weeds."
Some people actually eat dandelion greens. I haven't harvested our bumper crop yet, myself, but I give you this soup today, in which you could probably use dandelion greens, if you were feeling particularly brave. I think I'll just keep making wishes, and watching the seeds fly.
3 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 t. salt
6 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
7 cups water
4 c. collard leaves, stems removed, chopped
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, and salt; saute over medium-low heat until translucent.
Add potatoes and saute for another few minutes until just starting to turn golden. Add water.
Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are half done, about 10 minutes.
Add collards and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Puree soup with a stick blender (it's OK if the collards don't blend in all the way; that creates a nice variegated texture) and season with salt and pepper to taste.