Dandelions: A lesson in reimagining

I’ve never been a fan of dandelions. They’ve seemed like only pesky weeds (which is of course only another name for wildflower). Then I came to Iceland. It is peak dandelion blooming season. They are the spring wildflower that splashes Iceland yellow.

Apparently dandelions are well loved here. Turns out that Túnfífill (the Icelandic name) are healthy to eat from flower to root. I ate delicious Icelandic salmon coated in dandelion petals.

A woman we met told us how valued dandelions are in Iceland. They represent hope, love, and health. They also have a special meaning in this country of long winter nights. The yellow bloom is the sun; the white seed head is the moon; the dispersed seeds are the stars.

I think about the hope that dandelions would offer as the burst forth with the first color after a winter of gray, black, and white. Their little sun faces would promise that the sun would be returning for longer days of light (in fact, night never really showed up this trip; sunset was right after 11 pm and sunrise after 3 AM; it was never dark in between)

The love that dandelions offer, for me, is the generosity of joyful color that spreads with abandon year after year. Apparently they are among the hardiest of plants in this tough climate and return no matter what hardship or sorrow surrounds them.

The health is the very plant itself that provides nutrition not only to those who eat them but to the soil itself.

How very strange that I had to travel miles and miles to see that something I had thought common and pesky was actually a gift of great delight. I wonder. What else am I missing?

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