Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Dandelion Seed

After Mark and I finished our morning run yesterday we realized that we were out of both milk and money. So before going home we got in the truck and made a quick detour to the grocery store where our bank has an ATM.

I’m no beauty queen to begin with, but after my morning run? Please. Hide me. So I sent Mark in to the store alone, and while I waited for him to return I happened to notice a dandelion seed in the empty parking slot beside me.

It was a joyful seed. Bright white and frisky, tumbling over and over, spinning and lifting off a little before landing again, going round and round the asphalt beside me. It danced and did cartwheels, played with sunlight, and seemed to celebrate just being.

The more I watched it, the more it mesmerized me. I kept waiting for it to dash off, or lift off and be gone. It was so exuberant and full of life that I just knew it was meant to frolic beyond the confines of a supermarket parking lot.

And then it got caught in a little puddle. Some fluid or another from the car that had previously parked in the slot beside me. Maybe it was oil. Or tranny fluid. Maybe water.

I watched it struggle, hoping the fluid was water. A dandelion seed could break free from water. Water wouldn’t hurt its delicate little fuzzy arms. If it could catch enough wind it could lift off and dance once more.

The seed strained and pulled in the breeze and my heart caught for a moment when it tumbled forward. But the seed only made it to the edge of the fluid before being held back again.

And there it sat, straining.

And there I sat, watching.

Come on, I thought. You can do it!

I told myself that I was being silly. Why did I care about this little dandelion seed? Dandelions are weeds, aren’t they? They get sprayed and yanked and cursed.

But this seed had spunk. A real zest for life. And I hated to see it stuck in the puddle. I hated to see it give up. With each passing minute the spirit of this little ball of life was dying, I could feel it. Soon another car would come along and park in the slot. The seed would be shadowed.



Before it had even had a chance to really live its life, it would be crushed.

I saw Mark approaching with a small load of groceries (and, presumably, money). I smiled at him through the glass and reached back to open the rear door. I tried to block the dandelion seed from my mind. I told myself that there are billions of them around the planet.

What did this one matter?

But as Mark started to close the back door I called out to him and he popped his head back in and said, “Yes?”

I pointed, feeling ridiculous. “Could you pick up that dandelion seed?”

He didn’t go “Huh?” and look at me like I was a lunatic. He just closed the door, picked up the seed and held it out to me with a smile.

I shook my head. “Just set it free.”

He did, and there it went on a gust of wind, up, up and away.

When he got inside the truck I told him, “Sorry. I know that was silly.”

He started the motor and smiled at me. “No it wasn’t. I totally get it.” And as he backed out of our slot he said, “Sometimes little things are metaphors for the bigger things in life.”

And so they are.


Ryan said...

That's sweet. =)

I always liked dandelions. A weed? Says who? It's a flower! And it's a heck of a lot more interesting than uniform blades of grass. *nodding*

-- Ryan

Jinnyd said...

That was probably the most insightful thing I have [read] about dandelions in any context, ever!

I will now be quiet, as no words are adequate to describe how one feels after reading an insightful short nonfiction piece like this.


P.S. I can see now, more than ever, how you are most definitely a writer in every inch of your being!

Izze said...

<33 You, ma'am, are my hero.

The fact that a dandelion seed can catch so much attention from you just confirms that you have the kind of outlook on life that I wish everyone would have.

Alexa said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like that :)! That's a really insightful post, I mean it's the little things in life that make up the big things. Instead of just looking at the whole picture we need to see the little details, everything that is usually overlooked. Because a picture is only as good as the sum of it's parts :)

Anonymous said...

I've never thought as weeds as flowers.I think of dandelions as just hated but beautiful flowers that are at places at the wrong time.Other weeds i just think of as messed up ugly-ish flowers.Of course.i'm not going to pick up some weeds for my moms birthday and tell her happy birthday (I'm not THAT cheap(: ).Your post was as beautiful and delicate as that poor dandelion.I believe Mark was right about what he said.Even when you write a post you put so much effort into it.When you think you do too!I wish i was that way.I can look at my tan rug and think:Oh,how the mixture of dark and light meet as the shadow of the large,but beautiful woman steps a board this wonderful fragile rug.The way that all the...(umm?!)...rings of life are perfectly there,with perfect posture.The light shines off of the woman and makes her look like a godess,The rug sits ever so still just waiting to be set free from all of the pain and fear.

Yep,that's about as poetic and fancy as i get!
Awesome post(:


Jean Maurie said...

I LOVE dandelions! That was so sweet that Mark "got it".

I want you to know am almost finished The Running Dream. I don't want it to end because then I will be finished reading it. I know that sounds stupid but as a reader and writer I know you'll understand. I can hardly wait until my friend Lori reads it. She is a runner unlike me and she will so love the book. I hope you write more like this. I'm going to see what other books you've written. BTW I'm a Grandmother almost a Great Grandmother and I LOVE YA books. Yours was one of the best I've read in a long time!

Warmly, Jean Maurie

bookworm said...

this post was quietly beautiful. thank you wendelin. and thank you too, mark, for understanding what wendelin felt; since i feel it myself so often. :)

Michael said...

I love being in a relationship with my wife--we get each other. It is nice to know there are others out there.

Kathleen said...

It was, indeed, fortuitous that I happened across your blog just now. It gave me my morning meditation. Thank you so much for sharing!

Ty said...

Just as each reader extracts his own meaning out of something being read, my take away from your blog is the great relationship you and Mark have. I am going to try to do something blindly, understandingly, lovingly obedient for her today.

Nicely written, Wendelin!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Such wonderful comments about my little observation. Thanks to all of you. As some of you have noted, I have a pretty great partner. What struck me most was how he understood without explanation. Lucky, lucky me.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

PS for Jean Maurie: I do get that :-) and am honored that you feel that way about TRD, thank you. BTW, "Grandmas" love the Sammy (Samantha) Keyes series because Sammy's "rock" is her grandmother. During my last book tour I had two book stores where a 3-generation group (grandmother, mother, daughter) came out to see me because they all loved Sammy Keyes. Maybe next time you'll be part of a 4-generation group! Congrats on being an almost-great-grandma. What a joy that must be! Thanks again for chiming in!

Robin said...

"The Dandelion Seed" is poetic . . . for you, for Mark, for us. Thank you!

Raisa Karim said...

Your son is a genius. I guess all my thoughts have already bled through the other comments. an Ryan-- couldn't agree w/ you more!

Susanne said...

Wow. I feel really inspired now. I think that just made my day. :) Thanks for writing.