Dandelions Again

The dandelions came again this spring. Oodles of them. “A true fact”, as my old friend used to say, “but hardly news.”

This year spring, such as it was, arrived with bright bright yellow dandelions that routinely faded, leaving behind white seed heads that blew in batches onto our lawns. Sometimes by the wind and sometimes by children playing wishing games.Then, only stalks remained, long and skinny and sticking straight up, there for us to deal with as best we could.

Most summers around here hold sunnier truths. A season for endless fun in warmer weather on longer days, for dripping ice cream and Popsicles and watermelon on your T-shirt. For watching Vladimir Guerrero Jr. play third base. For the feel of warm sand at the edge of cool water. For the sound of the Beach Boys cranked up loud. And then louder still.

This summer has been different. A birthday party for the little girl across the street with drive-by horns honking, friends and parents waving, dropping off presents at a safe distance. A friend’s funeral not attended.

Graduation ceremonies deferred until who knows when.

Along with the dandelions, this extraordinary year has grown our admiration of the familiar; a yearning to return even to the things we moaned about not so long ago – going to the dentist, debating about potholes and stop signs; complaining about the price of a cup of coffee.

In the end, we are all to some extent creatures who want to be competent, in control, to care about others and be cared about by them.

I miss my delusions about my wide-ranging competence. There is quite a difference, as it turns out, between my former optimistic self-perception and the current demonstrable reality. Anyone watching me do Grade Two subtraction or draw a bunny during homeschooling will quickly see what I mean.

We all feel our loss of control. Quarantine. Social distancing. Wearing a mask. We see no end in sight and it feels like forever already. Let’s face it too, no matter our political views, few of us like being told what to do.

 

Finally, our emotional connection with our family and friends, our caring, is difficult to duplicate by telephone or Skype. Our identity as aunt, teacher, neighbour, classmate is blurred without the repeated hands-on involvement our former lives gave to us.

Our affinities, our team sweaters, the things we miss – the bowling team, the knitting club, my job, my business, my school, my birthday party, my graduation ceremony, how I support myself, who I am and what I want – these pictures of myself become blurred with lack of practice.

The freedom to meet, to stand close, to touch each others – our emotions are also connected to our physical lives. Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. You can expect an extraordinary number of hugs for awhile in the new normal. Some of them unexpected. Some of them clumsy. Get ready.

So, the dandelions will thrive again next spring. A sea of yellow. And we will have hugs again. Oodles and oodles of them.

 

Man lying in grass with flowers and dandelions

author
Born, raised and living again in Sarnia, Ontario, Bob Boulton began writing poetry, short stories and humorous articles for his high school newspaper in the period just after dinosaurs roamed the earth. After a break of about 40 years, he reactivated his passion for writing, including his blog “Bob’s Write from the Start” aimed at new and renewing writers. Bob’s Write From The Start blog can be found at https://bobswritefromthestart.blogspot.ca/.
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