How to Get Apple Pie from Weeds

I don’t especially like dandelions.

Here in the cold, slow-to-start Upper Peninsula of Michigan, however, dandelions are one of the first signs of spring. The little weed is more prolific here than the state flower. Many well-intending folks with greener lawns than I work diligently to rid their yards of dandelions, but as a pseudo-gardener, I cannot do it. Though the dandelion does not appeal to my senses one jot, there is something about the dandelion that bees find particularly desirable. And there is something about bees that apple blossoms find desirable. And apple blossoms, when nurtured with the pollen left by birds and bees and butterfly wings, grow into fruit. And that fruit becomes an afternoon snack, applesauce, apple butter, apple cider, apple pie filling. So something for which I have absolutely zero delight can result in something for which I have a good deal of delight (apple pie!). Now if dandelions could grow a pint of vanilla ice cream for the side, I’d plant a million!

The yards of our lives are full of weeds. Some weeds are destructive and need to be pulled. Some, however, like the dandelion, spring up like tiny promises for our lives — hope in the midst of still-too-chilly mornings: Hope that what appeared dead is alive once more; hope that the still and cold air will soon resonate with the robin’s morning song; hope that skies will clear to that soft blue we find so comforting; hope that if a dandelion can grow in your yard, so can a lilac. And who doesn’t like lilacs?

It can be tempting to rid ourselves of the dandelions in our yards and our lives, wanting to present a perfect image — a perfect lawn — to the world. Don’t do it, I urge you. The very fact that a dandelion is growing in your yard is evidence: There is life. No matter how long and difficult the winter has been, you have survived and you are strategically positioned for the birth of many new things.

So let the dandelions grow. You may get apple pie out of it in the end, and if nothing else — you’ll give the bees something to buzz about.


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