I took the trash out the other day, not because it needed it, but because I needed it. I needed a breather from the packing, crying and needing of me. As I walked back to the house, I noticed a bunch of dandelions. Dandelions are known as a weed in Iowa, but as a child, dandelions were considered the best summer’s prize. A field of fresh and untouched dandelions would be the jackpot. One blow and fluffy white tufts, soft as down, would explode forth and dance upon the wind.
I felt like a child as I ripped one from its stem and blew with all my might. The tufts danced magically upon the wind. Flowing various directions, some were pushed down while others soared towards the golden sun. Still others fought their way away from the ground to reach the sky and others got caught on a power box or a wire or a blade of grass. Each journey different and each journey special. The wind was their master and decider of their fate. The tufts simply allowed the wind to guide them wherever they needed to be.
After watching these tufts intently, I decided to go inside. But wait, who can honestly resist a second dandelion? I stooped down and grabbed another, a full dandelion that was not missing a tuft of white. Full of promise and life. I blew. The tufts sank. They fell to the ground in a sad and unpromising fashion. I looked at the dandelion and wondered, “What changed?” Then it hit me: the wind. The wind had receded. Not a puff of wind was available to push these tufts to their destinations. Instead it had abandoned them and they were now rooted to the mound of mud my children had made with the water hose and some dirt.
I thought, “I should write about this”, but got busy with packing and life. Tonight, after a run to the store, I could see the river glistening in the distance. She was calling my name and reminding me that I would not be seeing her for much longer. The thought made me sad. I couldn’t resist. I sat on her grassy banks, noticing the rippling and continuous flowing of water, murky water; the Mississippi has a powerful force and spirit. Amazing and terrifying at the same time.
I noticed a dandelion, and you must know the need to release those tufts. I blew. The tufts did not respond. I blew again. They stubbornly clung on, unwilling or unable to let go. No matter whether there was wind or not, these tufts were never going to let go. They were stagnant. I pulled them off with my fingers and set them free. They fluttered down to the ground in an unappealing way. I then threw the stem into the river where it laid lifelessly and began its journey downstream to an unknown fate.
I thought of these three dandelions and the winds of change that have come upon me recently and upon many in all walks of life. The first dandelion willingly let go of its home and was eager to journey. She didn’t know her direction, nor did she care. She allowed to the wind to change her, ever pulling in different directions and enjoying the ride. She accepted the wind. The second dandelion, by no fault of her own, did not have any wind or driving force and fell to the ground, remaining dormant and sad. Never to grow or progress. The third dandelion would not let go, no matter how I tried, and was then forced to let go, but received no real reward.
These winds of change that have come my way over the past year have forced me to grow in many ways. Many times, the wind has forced me low, down into dark and lonely places. Many times, the wind has pushed me up into the brilliant sunlight, ever shining, ever pure. Many times, the wind has let me float along and receive a respite from cares. However, I have chosen to ride the wind, no matter my fate. No matter the uncertainty of my future. I would rather ride the wind then remain dormant and settle for the mud. I will choose the wind which will push me to grow and push me toward the sunlight. The ever brilliant and life giving sunlight.