Last week I was in Buffalo with my cousin. I needed to get away from Denver and clear my head a little and spending time with Sarah and Jon and their daughter Allie was exactly what I was looking for.
One afternoon, on a Duncan-less walk with eight-year-old Allie, we crossed the street and meandered under the slowly greening trees, down the quiet street to the bridge that overlooked a small creek that cuts through their neighborhood in East Aurora. I'd been busy telling Allie the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants when we paused to look at some tiny purple flowers growing along the rocky bank of the creek.
"I love the flowers," she told me as enthusiastically as she'd proclaimed "I love to dance" a few days earlier. "They're my favorite color. I wish I was that color."
"You know what flowers I love?" I asked. "Dandelions. You know why?"
"Because when you rub them on your nose, it turns yellow," I explained. "And when they grow old and lose their petals, you can pick them, make a wish and blow on the seeds until they fly away. And when you blow, those seeds carry your wish all around the world and if you really believe in it, it will come true."
Allie looked around and sighed. "I don't think we have dandelions here," she told me with sad resignation.
This morning, on First Walk, Dunc led me to a small patch of dandelions that had only recently sprung up. I could swear they weren't there yesterday, or if they were, they were still knotted up tightly, refusing to let their brilliant yellow ignite the world until they were perfectly ready. Duncan paused and sniffed them. I plucked one and rubbed it against my nose and thought of Allie and wished she were here, walking with Roo and me, so we could paint our faces with dandelion butter and laugh and maybe play with her bottle of bubbles again when we were done.
A friendly neighbor and her grunting pug approached and laughed at us.
"Those damn dandelions are back," she frowned.
"But they're beautiful," I told her.
"No, they're weeds."
"Only if you think they are," I replied.
The truth is, there is no such thing as a weed. It's all a matter of perspective. Nothing in this world is a weed until we label it one. If I wanted to grow a giant field with only sun-bright dandelions and a single Juliet rose sprung up, that rose would be the weed only because it was unwanted and not a dandelion.
Beauty and worth exist regardless of desire. Your perspective shapes everything. And knowing this, as Duncan does, will make the world glow around you. If all you see is beauty, how could it not?