Tuesday, May 8, 2012
bouquets of dandelions
except for a few small, isolated patches in the deep shade of overhanging ledges, the snow has finally melted from the trails around mount mansfield, the highest mountain in vermont. the melodic songs of waterfalls plunging down from the dizzying height of rocky outcroppings were a serenade to springtime, but the trees looked wintry, gray and skeletal—the buds tiny, embryonic and tightly curled.
on saturday my daughter alex and i played tourist in her backyard and drove up to nearby smuggler's notch after we helped the baby of the family, hannah, start to move out of one apartment in preparation to move into another.
at the higher elevations there was minimal green, but in the rest of vermont there was plenty of it, including bright green plastic bags which were sprouting up like cabbages along the road from richmond to the notch. the first saturday in may is green up day in vermont and many people were out cleaning winter's debris from the landscape. the bags were left beside the road to be collected later. we didn't participate, though. our excuse? we didn't have one, but i could say one of us was too pooped from driving for four hours and helping with the apartment and the other one was too pregnant (but too pregnant doesn't work as an excuse because the girl hiked the pinnacle at 30 weeks of pregnancy). plus we had other plans.
in addition to green there was lots of yellow—enough dandelions in fields and lawns and grassy ditches for thousands of bouquets. i always feel a little sad for the despised dandelion. i think they are very pretty (and useful—how about a yummy salad of dandelion greens and a sip of dandelion wine? no? ok, so i'll admit that to me, anyway, those aren't the tastiest of treats) and i find myself getting upset about the containers of nasty "weed begone" killers people douse them with in search of perfection. i generally have a hard time with unnatural weed-free golf course types of grassiness which leach lakes of harmful chemicals into the environment.
but in vermont the dandelions seem to thrive; people either like dandelions better here or they have made peace with the idea of their existence due to the severe cost to nature of attempting to eradicate them—they are an accepted and natural part of the landscape. the dandelions' sunny yellow faces will continue to keep on smiling until the day comes when lawnmowers are hauled out of sheds and garages and barns and revved up for that first mow of the season.