One lovely day I took my granddaughter Faith for a drive through the Vermont countryside. For the entire month before that, we had longed for spring’s warm, gentle, reviving touch. But it had tarried too long in the South, uncaringly allowing Old Man Winter to bury April and even early May under his cold, wet, shrouds of morning snows.
But today was different. Spring had arrived at last, almost with a vengeance, for a hot, sunny 80 degrees in brilliant sunshine nearly paralyzed us. I was grateful for the chance to spend a day away—far from working hours and worry, far from harried days and hurry. I took the opportunity to spend one lovely day in Vermont with my granddaughter.
While sauntering down a country lane, I spied a field filled with dandelions—uncountable myriads of bright yellow-faced suns, sprawling out across the broad expanse of open meadowland. I stopped the car and took Faith by the hand. We strolled to the edge to admire the view. As far as the eye could see, dandelions at the height of their glory stretched out before us—yellow, round, standing firm but soft to the touch.
Had a farmer sown them intentionally, he would have been pleased at this bumper crop. As Faith’s eyes beheld the sight, she dubbed it the most beautiful meadow in the state. “It’s a heaven of yellowness, Papa,” she declared emphatically.
A week later I found myself slaying the dandelions that had invaded my handsome backyard. I carefully gathered into a bag a few of them that had already gone to seed and angrily beheaded those about to. One by one, I snipped the seed-bearing heads off the stalks and tossed them into the bag.
Faith followed close at hand. “Papa, why don’t you want more dandelions? Why are you throwing away the seeds? Watch, Papa. I love blowing the white fluffy heads. See? New seeds for next year.”
Woo, woo, woo. She blew them into the wind across the yard.
“There you go, Papa! Next year you will have a heaven of yellowness here! You will have the prettiest yard in town!”
I smiled wryly and bit my tongue.
For the moment, Faith was in her glory, scampering around delightedly in a small version of her heaven of yellowness. She selected only the plumpest and loveliest dandelions for her Mimi’s vase and merrily blew a few of the “fluffy heads”, chasing their parachute seeds around the yard.
But then the next morning Faith came out in the yard with her Papa again. Overnight all the yellow dandelions had closed up their heads. Faith was crushed. “Your heaven of yellowness is gone. Now they’re ugly!”
I pictured the future—tomorrow a sea of fluffy heads waiting for the wind to blow their seeds all over my yard, and the next day hideous headless stalks, and next spring too many dandelions.
“Oh, my precious little one,” I replied with a knowing smile, “don’t be charmed by the dandelions of life—they have only one lovely day.