Dandelion > Taraxacum officinale > Lion’s Teeth
A small seed falls in moist soil. The seed grows a tiny ring of toothy green leaves out and one tap root deep, deep down. A hollow stem grows towards the sun, holding the dandelion flower. She opens to the sun rising and closes at night.
One morning, she doesn’t wake. The sun comes to touch her, but she stays closed. Inside her veiled walls, her petals become a tight cluster of seeds, like a bundle of white hair. The stem grows higher and higher and higher. When she throws herself open again each seed has a small tuft, created for a surrender to the wind that she has risen to meet.
That is the story of a dandelion.
If ever I have a daughter, when first her fingers learn to clasp and to close, I’ll give her a dandelion to hold; a star without orbit for her little hands.
I’ll teach her the colour gold:
Gold, the petals peeping shy from the bud, creeping past the green doors,
the petals thrown open, courage of brazen fragility.
Gold, the burning star of our day sky.
We’ll lie belly-up in tickly grass, sun kissing our eyelashes. I’ll teach her the feel of light, the warmth of it and the surety.
And she’ll know that she is a girl, that her heart will fill with dreams as bright as the sun and as tenacious as the dandelion. The dreams will turn her heart golden (and don’t we ladies love to be queens?).
We’ll watch the dandelions close as the sun goes down – green cradling gold. There are curtains to veil her girlish dreams and pillows where they can rest, too.
Goodnight, young dandelion. Goodnight, sun. Goodnight, my daughter.
If ever I have a daughter, when she can understand the word “no” I’ll show her a dandelion closed clam-tight shut in broad daylight.
Gold is not always meant to be shown. Bright, happy dreams need to nestle deep, deep inside a girl’s soul before they can be birthed.
In a world that measures your worth by your visibility, I’ll tell my girl; maybe pearls are just build-up inside irritated, ordinary oysters, but that’s never a reason to throw them to the swine. Irritation and dreams merge into beautiful things where they’re hidden, sweetheart. When the time comes, you’ll nest your gold in ordinary leaves. The mother of God treasured the mysteries of her son in her heart.
Women of dandelion dreams walk a path of mystery.
If ever I have a daughter, as soon as she’s able to purse her lips and blow, I’ll hand her a seedy dandelion, a globe of possibility. I’ll teach her to blow it and to see it – the silver set free by her little wind is carried away by the big wind.
We’ll sit on fallen logs with sticky moss and upturned faces, eyelashes framing the moon.
I’ll teach her the colour silver:
Silver, the fragile seed heads clinging to the dandelion.
Silver, the remote mother moon.
Silver, those dreams that turn a sane girl lunatic.
We’ll stretch our fingers into the night, sieves for stars, and she’ll know that her golden morning and her hidden evening have birthed dreams innumerable as those stars and fragile as the fluff of a dandelion’s head.
I’ll tell her there are times when all seems uncertain and silent, when silver is swallowed by night and the waiting seems to have brought no answer. In those moments of madness, of boiling blood and clouded moons and deep darkness – when there is no light – she can still know that there’s a wind for her dandelion dream-seeds.
The only way to grow into a woman is through trust.
We spin more gold than Rumpelstiltskin but hidden it becomese silver seeds, and seeds are for one thing: surrender. Everything truly matured is for the wind. And as night wind makes the maple leaves dance and the fir trees weep, I’ll whisper it to my daughter: there is a Wind that is faithful and true.
There’s this saying, “I love you to the moon and back”, but I’ll tell her there’s only one love that can break through stars and sieves and fingers and feelings and silence and insanity to find a girl’s soul. It’s a love that can’t be found in any man’s frame. It’s the love a dandelion girl needs most.
Because the mother of God, after treasuring all in her heart, had to let all go as she watched God die. Her heart was stabbed open with grief.
If ever I have a daughter, I’ll take her to the fields and show her a dandelion; open to sun and to moon, to gold and to silver. She’ll know that nothing is quite as it seems in this world. She’ll know that scattering in the Wind is the only way to keep a soul.
If I ever have a daughter, I’ll have to let her go, too.
Both of us, mother and daughter, living lion’s teeth.