#1 is a thinker and he comes out with some amazing questions and observations. Yesterday afternoon on the way home from school he turned to me and said, “Mom? Why don’t grown-ups like dandelions?”
Inferring he was referring to the recent news that Ontario is banning cosmetic use of pesticides and herbicides, I told him that I didn’t know and we continued on our walk.
In truth, I have managed to kill or “gardenize” most of the lawn that we have and the remaining green patches are weeds that get mowed once in the spring and once at the end of summer. I grew up in the country and I still find “perfect” city lawns appear bizarre and unnatural to me. I like a low-maintenance yard and weeding is fairly optional unless it’s something really thorny and growing where the kids play. We have a lot of fruit-bearing bushes in our yard and culinary herbs growing in our garden, so using chemicals to combat pests hasn’t been part of my gardening routine for years.
I could tell #1 was still thinking about the dandelion conundrum and asked him what was going on inside of his head. He turned to me and said, “Grown-ups are silly. Dandelions are pretty and each one turns into a million little wishes. I’m glad we have them in our yard.”
The rest of the way home I thought about all the dandelion chains I’d made growing up, the yellow bouquets I’d picked for my mother and, yes, all of the wishes I’d blown into the breeze and watched float away. I can remember my grandfather out every morning, fanatically removing dandelions with his digger — removing them as quickly as my wishes would replace them.
I don’t know what changes when we grow up that some of us become “perfect” lawn people and others of us try to recreate the natural chaos we remember from childhood, but I am awfully glad that Ontario is taking the first steps towards making all green spaces places our children can explore without fear. #1 has it right, I think — dandelions are a million little wishes. They are a millions little wishes for a safer, more diverse, natural environment for our children.
I think I will make a sign for our yard:
“Dandelions welcome here.”