Dandelion, by Ted Kooser
The first of a year’s abundance of dandelions
is this single kernel of bright yellow
dropped on our path by the sun, sensing
that we might need some marker to help us
find our way through life, to find a path
over the snow-flattened grass that was
blade by blade unbending into green,
on a morning early in April, this happening
just at the moment I thought we were lost
and I’d stopped to look around, hoping
to see something I recognized. And there
it was, a commonplace dandelion, right
at my feet, the first to bloom, especially
yellow, as if pleased to have been the one,
chosen from all the others, to show us the way.
Every last bit of snow and ice has left every last bit of the farm, and after two weeks of unceasing rain, the color green is once again returning to our pastures. This morning, while hauling out the flock’s breakfast of hay, I caught glimpses of baby dandelions poking their merry yellow heads up through the “snow-flattened grass in Kooser’s lovely poem. They are a magnificent sight for a winter weary soul.
I’m not exactly sure why this past winter proved to be my hardest yet here at the farm. Perhaps it was because there was so much ice to maneuver around, just layers and layers of impenetrable ice which made moving the sheep (and myself) a daily white knuckle task. Or, maybe it was the way Covid struck at Christmas time, laying waste to plans of enjoying the holidays with all three children under our roof once more. Or the unlucky spill our dog Bowie took while watching over her flock, which has left her with a slow to heal torn ACL. Or an attack of shingles which coincided with ringworm, the latter of which was courtesy of the above mentioned Bowie. At some point in December, a black mood took hold and established itself with some tenacity.
But, the dandelions of this morning, coupled with blue skies and a lovely breeze, as well as the sweet freedom to be outside at the picnic table unencumbered by winter garb, have broken through that bleak mood.
Today, I resisted the urge to pick up the flats of pansies that tempted me at the feed store. It’s much too soon to plant anything yet, but the very sight of those happy flowers dancing in the morning sunshine was enough to banish the last dark thoughts. Spring is here…and not a moment too soon.