First Dandelion

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I am a champion of dandelions, so when I spotted the first one unseasonably early this year in January, it was meaningful to me.

This “winter” along the Gulf Coast has been a wonderland for me despite the absence of snow. Summer flowers refused to fold, autumn arrived in December and passed yet lingers, some leaves finally fallen and browned, others “frozen” in time.

I don’t think the leaves and flowers and frost are confused by the erratic temperatures. It feels more willful than that. They feel alive, refusing to conform, but not in a defiant resistance, more of a joyful jubilee, an awakening, a desire to witness, delayed death meeting premature birth, overlapping, perhaps just this once as planets form a particular pattern.

I see the parallels in me.

I woke long before dawn on a Sunday because I couldn’t sleep, didn’t want to, any longer. I yearned to write, to seize the day, because it was mine. As much as I love my career, it dictates me like any other. No agenda today but my own, the only notes needed, the scribblings of poetic thoughts flittering in the spring of my mind. Like the flowers and leaves out of doors, I will inevitably sleep but if fate allows, I’ll decide the time. A nap with the window open mid-afternoon, perhaps in the middle of a chapter, perhaps in an hour.

The seasons of our lives are wed to time, and these seasons are defying order, the same way the past in me can mix with my present, competing for my attention, openly and beneath. Sometimes it is simply past time for the last leaf to release its grip; after all, it is sacrificial and needed for the tree’s perseverance. The trees of life within us, like the blooms, will assuredly bud again. Perhaps the exposed bareness is necessary for us too, to feel the abrasive, harsh winds, to virus-hibernate for a while, to better appreciate the warmth and warmer rains, and friends. To extend once again or for the first time, our olive branches.

I lean down to the ground behind my privacy fence to capture the “Tooth of the Lion.” I shake my head instead of getting mad when I am photo-bombed. Sometimes the unexpected comes along, for we were not designed to be able to translate the harbinger’s song.

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