Monday, April 9, 2012

Dandelion clocks

Copper penny hair
Silent in discovery
Dandelion clocks

This past week has been a week of many firsts for Taran and I've been intending to write about them all but was somewhat waylaid by a trip to Philly for Passover this past weekend (more on that to come in a later post). I ought to be heading to bed, but I couldn't resist a quick sum up of one of my favorite of last week's discoveries - dandelion clocks. Last Wednesday afternoon I took Taran out in the yard to play while I attacked a few of the copious dandelions that have begun to run amok in our meadow of a back yard, thanks in part to a very early spring. As I carefully moved from plant to plant, digging deep to pull out the long, tendrilly roots, Taran shuffled next to me in my neon green garden clogs. Suddenly I looked up to see him blowing dandelion clocks - a spontaneous discovery unprompted by me. I had to laugh at the irony of laboriously pulling the bully plants one by one while he gleefully spread the seeds by the score. Ha! I wished so much that I had a camera to capture that moment, but it was laying inside and I knew the moment would be over before I came back. I figured that I'd come back out with him the next day and he'd be happy to blow dandelion clocks then while I merrily shot great shots in the warm, honey sunshine. Isn't it funny how we have these lovely fantasies of how things will be with our toddlers and then there is reality.

The next morning was cold and gray and when I looked out the window, I saw the lawn mower guy pulling up out front. (A bit of self-disclosure here, we don't mow our own lawn. With a toddler, we seem to be either capable of the weekend ritual house clean-up or mowing the lawn, but decidedly not both.) Anyway, as it was just April, the lawn had not yet been mowed and was in a wild meadow state which, minus the dandelions, I actually love.

I rushed Taran into his winter coat and ran outside with him dragging off one arm and my new (ok kinda old, but new to me - yay craigslist!) DSLR camera dragging off the other. These suckers are waaay heavier then I imagined. I'm talking about the camera, not the kid. Although he's getting kind of heavy these days too. With a bright grin on my face and my fabulous camera ready I said

Me: Taran, wanna blow some dandelions?
Taran: No.
Me: Are you SURE? They were so fun yesterday.
Taran: No.
Me: But the lawn mower man is coming and they will all be gone. Just one little blow?
Taran: No.

I should point out that Taran's pronouncement of "No" was another first this week. He's always been a "yeah, yeah, yeah" kind of guy, and while I realize that the right to say "No" is a huge, important part of his development, and I feel kind of proud of his assertion of self....I think I liked "Yeah!" better.

So anyway, no Kodak moments of my son blowing dandelions were to be had. But I did get a few cute ones of his reaction to the lawn mower being driven in through our back yard.

And one of the lawn mower guy, Gregory, looking less than thrilled that I was taking his picture.

I was kind of sad to see the tall grass go. I was beginning to love the meadow and all it's accompanying insects. I can't wait for all my flowers to start coming up so they will come back. Here's another little Haiku that I wrote that night.

Grim reaper lawn man
Meadow falling to your blades
How many bugs lost?

If you are wondering why all the Haikus? Well I mentioned that I have a master plan for an alternative career path which I'll talk about later, but as part of that plan, I'm heading to Milwaukee next week for a two day workshop on Writing on the Natural World. The participants have been given a couple of preparatory assignments to turn in on the first day and one of them involves composing several very brief daily observations about nature. The teacher suggested writing them in tweet form, but non-direction-follower that I am, I've been writing them in Haiku form instead. I'm getting kind of obsessed. I walk around all day composing little Haikus in my head. I suppose there are worse addictions.

I'm really excited about the workshop, but really nervous to leave Taran behind. Joe has had to go away several Times over the last 21 months since Taran was born - once as far away as Haiti for a 10 day research trip. So generally, Taran is relatively unfazed by this. Or at least has a clear understanding that Papa will return. The only time I've been away from Taran is when my husband and I were gone for a 2 day trip to Philadelphia for my cousin's wedding last Fall. Upon our return, Taran took one look at Joe and said "yeah, yeah, yeah". And completely ignored me for about 4 hours. I mean, he let me have it. So I'm not thrilled about this part of going away. But who knows with a toddler. Who they are today is not necessarily who they will be tomorrow so maybe it will all be just fine. I hope.

As a final aside, I mentioned in my last post that my friend Sarah posed a challenge to her friends to share weekly "selfies" (self-photographs) on her blog. Somehow, I never got a post up last week for reasons aforementioned and the closest I got to a self-portrait was one of my feet. Better than nothing?


  1. i could read your writing for days. so effortlessly beautiful and full of imagery. love it. thank you for writing this blog - keep it up, please!

    i loved your bit about the disconnect between fantasy toddler and toddler reality - so true! and the beauty of a wild, meadowy lawn - my fave. and the haikus! yes!! YES! love them. i want more details about this writing workshop! i am thrilled to hear you are doing something so utterly FABULOUS and creative and will send healing mama energy into the universe that Taran will accept you home with open arms. he so clearly loves his mama, that i'm sure he will do exactly that.

    rebecca, you heart and soul are gorgeous. keep sharing...

  2. It is the next best thing to being there with you three. You know, when i hired new employees to my Communications team, I'd have them write their first drafts in Haiku. Imagine a 3 hir training session distilled to a few short sylables. I'm pretty sure they thought it was torture, but they all became better writers as a result.
    Please keep blogging. I look forward to your next thoughts. Also... were none of your dandilions turned into salad? :-) Linda

  3. Great post. Look forward to hearing more details about the workshop and the writing career!

    It is amazing what grows in a lawn when it's not mowed. Ours has also acquired the meadow look after many weeks of neglect this spring. No shame in getting someone to mow for you though. Between cleaning the house and mowing the lawn, I think you have chosen the harder task to do yourselves!