Sunday, July 3, 2011
The Dandelion Seed
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.