I have always loved dandelions. From their bright yellow blooms to their white, floating seeds that we called, “Santa Clauses” as children, I have always loved them. And I know that they are edible, too, although I admit I have never tried eating or drinking any part of or recipe containing dandelion. I will endeavor to do so, after finishing this post.
However, today as I contemplate the yard work which awaits, this nagging question keeps gnawing at my consciousness: Who decides which plants are good and which are bad? Here in the desert, we have much vegetation that grows, survives, and thrives naturally. Many insects and some small animals feed off these indigenous plants. When in bloom, African daisies are some of the most beautiful “weeds” I have ever seen, with their bright orange and yellow blossoms blanketed atop their green-stem foundations.
As I dig and pull out a weed by its roots from a crack in the driveway, I contemplate the conflict inside me. Why do we work so hard to remove, control, oppress these living things that occur so naturally? Why do we spray poisons on them to prohibit their lives and their growth? And then we turn around and plant seeds to grow grasses, and we dig holes and insert plants and trees that, while they may appear beautiful, require the utmost of maintenance, water, and care in order to sustain life and to thrive. It is so counter-intuitive to me that we place such importance on making the appearance of our yards so pleasing to the eyes of others; and the eyes of others also depend upon the judgment of our eyes to accept and appreciate their efforts in herbicide and germination. Murder that which does not please us, and coddle that which is unnatural. And we are praised by each other for doing so; and we are judged and reprimanded by each other if we do not abide by this senseless cycle of killing and nurturing.
It is an inner conflict in me, a conflict which I am working to resolve, to see the beauty in all living things. All is created from love, and all strives to exist and to thrive for love. No one living thing is less worthy of a bountiful, complete existence than any other. I am struggling with this conflict as I fight the urge to kill a spider in the corner.