This summer my children and I traveled to Assateague Island, Maryland, for a camping vacation. While there we visited the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland, and in a shop I found a poster-size reproduction of a print done by Albrecht Durer about four centuries ago. I wanted it very badly so my children bought it for my birthday. The print is titled "Spring Grasses." The reason I wanted it so much is that along with the grasses are pictured several dandelions. And oh, I have always thought of myself as a dandelion!
Dandelions, you know, have dark green leathery leaves that spring back if someone steps on them. They have bright flowers which look like unruly yellow-haired Orphan Annies and which go to seed quickly, spreading tiny fluff-parachuted seeds to the four winds. They have deep tap roots which usually break when you pull the plant out and then send up a new plant. Let's face it, it's almost impossible to get rid of a dandelion. They grow in sand, in clay, in wet and dry conditions, in your flower garden and all over your lawn. They grow in cracks between sidewalk squares and then they break the cement. I like to think of myself as hardy like that.
You are my sisters in spirit and this is my wish for us. May we be strong, resilient, tenacious, perennial like the field grasses and the weeds. May we have dark green leathery prickly leaves like the dandelions and wild chicory and strong proud stems like the grasses and Queen Anne's Lace. May we blossom in bright improbable colors of yellow, blue, purple, white and orange, and may our ideas produce many seeds which will spread to new places, there to grow and flourish. May our roots run deep like the tap root of the dandelion so that no one can pull us up without leaving pieces which will grow again and again. And may our roots grow sideways like the fibrous roots of the tall field grasses. You can't pull up just one of them, you know. Their roots are so intermingled that some of the roots of the others always go along. As it is with the grass roots, so may it be with our spirits, my friends. Blessed be.
I am not sure the print above is the one she meant, but it seems to be one of his most popular prints. I also think I remember being confused about what Mom saw in such a simple botanical study. Now I know.