Friday, July 11, 2014

In Praise Of Those Pesky Dandelions In The Middle Of Our Manicured Lawns...and Other Thoughts On The Pursuit Of Pefection

Stop for a moment and take a look at this...
piece of perfection?
natural mystery?
perpetual propeller?

We pass it by every day.

Sometimes we are annoyed with the dandelion fluff as it teases us, even mocks us, as it stands so tall among the well-behaved blades of grass...daring you to try to remove it.

Good luck!

Just by the very action of plucking it, you spread its seeds...such a clever mode of transportation.

Maybe you could pick it and make a wish...transporting yourself to a more carefree chapter in time.

Or you can wish it didn't exist with its bold brand of yellow...wish it away...and there's always the option of raining down a little poison.  

Round Up Ready.

So much of our life is just like this...
trashing the miracle...
wishing it away...
trying to change it...
and pouring on the poison.

We poison ourselves with the pursuit of the perfect lawn, the perfect abs, the perfect wrinkle-free skin and see no joy in any of these gifts.

As I watch all of my neighbors kill their lawns because of our severe drought, I sure wouldn't mind a lawn or two with dandelions.
As I notice people with so many health problems, I'm pretty happy with my abs of imperfection.
As I slather on the sunscreen around my eyes, I can't help but feel those laugh lines as they get deeper and more pronounced...almost everyday I wonder what I've been laughing about.
Too many good memories.
So fun to imagine which joke, which comedy, which unexpected joy made those lines.

I must have been having one heck of a time along the way.

Perfection is a hollow pursuit.
We know this.
In our heart  of hearts we feel its truth.

Yet, still we let the illusion allow us to abort babies that we wanted but have suddenly been identified with an extra chromosome.

No longer satisfied with ordinary seeds we literally add toxins to the DNA of seeds to resist the pesticides and call them natural.  We praise genetic engineering while pouring on even more pesticides on our crops.

Not good enough.

We berate ourselves internally for our "muffin tops", our "wobbly thighs", our age spots, our gray hair...never cherishing the stories behind each of these changes.
We can't have our houses clean enough, our clothes pressed enough, our children well-behaved enough or our spouse sexy enough.

We are always asking for more.
Me included.

Which brings me back to the dandelion.

Thank God for them.
Thank God for mine.

I'm done with the poisonous lies.
Done with the fractions of truths.
Done with it.

Today, I was reintroduced to a piece of art that I learned about in 2006.
It's called "Sam and The Perfect World" by Peter Lentz.
In 2006, it won the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Here are Peter Lentz's words:

"My wife Rosemarie had just given birth to our son Sam, and although he appeared perfectly healthy, something, nevertheless, didn't seem right. There was an awkward silence in the room, no words of congratulation or comments about how cute he was even though he was cute. Five minutes later the diagnosis was given: Sam has Down Syndrome. "Are you going to keep him?" a nurse asked. Later that evening someone else came by to "console" us. "It's every mother's worst nightmare," she said.

Welcome to the world, Sam.

In America today, perfection is highly valued. We dump loads of chemicals on our lawns to try and get rid of every weed, every dandelion. Models and supermodels are tall, impossibly fit, their clothes stylish and wrinkle-free. Images like this tend to change our perceptions, our ideals, until finally they leave us looking around at the peeling paint on our own houses, and our less than fit bodies, and it leaves us wanting.

Perfection, I would submit, is overrated. And besides, I like dandelions.

In the painting Sam assumes the role of presenter, host, even tutor, of this most revealing examination of the civilization man has made for himself. Sam is not society's accepted definition of perfection. In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, he really does have an important message for everyone to hear."

Umm, I like dandelions too.

I'm blowing it off.

Making my wish.

Enjoying the bright, bold yellow in the thick of the green.

Perfection deserves some Round Up.

Not us...not a single one of us.

Your job today: accept and love the people in your life, 

most especially, yourself.

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