The Way of the Dandelion

Dandelions explode four times. Think about the way of the dandelion.

First, they burst forth from the soil, bidden or not by petty human authorities, and thrust hungry leaves outward seeking the nourishing sun even while a root grows deep below view.

Next, dandelions bloom a sudden orange flame amongst the green, cheering the weak and attracting pollinators to spread the plant.

Then the blossoms erupt into radiating seeds, a paused explosion gathering strength and lashing each future generation to a feather.

Finally, the dandelion seeds explode into the air, carried wherever the wind wills them to land to send down their roots and spread their leaves. Those that find suitable soil will explode four more times.

Ang studied dandelions during the Exclusion. Ang knew of dandelions from a childhood in the suburbs, back when there were suburbs with homes in them. Father had taken such pride in his yard of uniform green, each leaf of grass in place, undisturbed by the contrary ideas of weeds. He’d waged eternal war against the dandelions, trying to stop each explosion in turn. He deployed chemicals and tools and managed to stop most of the explosions, but he never stopped them all. Always there in the yard, sometimes in an obscure corner but sometimes in the center, a dandelion would rise triumphant and go to seed again. The humble dandelion was too tenacious to be eradicated, too abundant with its seeds, and too deep with its root. The dandelions persisted, even in the Before.

During the Exclusion, Ang ate of the dandelions, thanking them for their leaves and their roots and the wild nourishment they offered with humility. Ang meditated upon the ways of the dandelion while dwelling in the wilderness. After a few years, Ang understood the four explosions: dandelions survived because they grew quick after taking root, bloomed with a burning fury, built many strong seeds, and then sent those seeds hither and yon.

Ang packed the boxes with care. Each payload was a little different, but still served the same objective. This plant would survive and spread. Some of the packages found suitable soil. Not a place so fertile that it was filled with other growth that crowded out a humble weed, but not so desolate as to deny a tenacious plant root. The four explosions of the dandelion could begin.

Green living shoots spread out in farming villages and urban towers where Ang’s seeds found root. Some were uprooted by keen-eyed tenders, but most were too low to be seen from on high. The ideas grew.

Then the bright orange blossoms burst forth. The brilliant blooms couldn’t hide, but there were too many to uproot. People were drawn to the brilliant flowers. Though riot police and shock troops extinguished most, they could not extinguish all.

Next new leaders stood up, springing from fading blossoms. New teachers spoke and wrote. Their own messages, like Ang’s, tethered to little feathers.

Finally, though the secret police came the new seeds fluttered away in the gale. Not all of the teachings would survive, but a few found suitable soil.

Then the four explosions began again.

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