Sunday, May 18, 2008

Looking down

weed (wēd) n. 1.a. A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden.

I went to the UW Arboretum today to photograph some friends from church. They have cute kids and are very nice people, so it was pleasant. Since they have little kids, I knew they'd be late so I took some time to poke around.

Everyone was looking at the lilac garden, which was, of course, gorgeous. The smell is almost intoxicating and a little overwhelming. While everyone was looking up, I took the opportunity to look down at the dandelions.

A dandelion is in the same family as Asters, a flower that is often cultivated for its beauty. The dandelion flower isn't a flower really, it's a collection of flowers on one flower bud. Whatever it is, it's pretty, with a lovely fractal pattern. If we weren't so addicted to the sterility of a golf course lawn as the ideal, we'd like dandelions a lot more.

Mundane is a label often misapplied. Dandelions are not at all mundane, they're lovely. Actually, I'd say the perfect suburban lawn is the epitome of mundane. It's sterile, a mono-culture of millions of grass blades that all look exactly the same, with all the excitement of a Moonie wedding. The fertilizers and herbicides that make the "perfect lawn" render it a desert to all other forms of plant life, and while it may be good for croquet, it's not much good for much else.

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