Cel­e­brat­ing the Dan­de­lion – a glo­ri­ous “free range” flower

Stanstead Journal - - SPORTS - Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Phil White Derby, VT

Wewere un­der­stand­ably thrilled when the May/June edi­tion of Yan­kee Mag­a­zine re­cently se­lected the Dan­de­lion Run as one of Ver­mont’s Top 20 Events for the pe­riod May through Au­gust. This fol­lows Ver­mont Sports’ se­lec­tion of The Dandy (as we call it) as one of the 5 most scenic run­ning races in Ver­mont. And what a great event it is, run­ning on back roads through the World Fa­mous Dan­de­lion Fields of Derby, Hol­land and Mor­gan dur­ing a time we call “High Spring.” And the Dan­de­lion Fes­ti­val of blue­grass and old coun­try mu­sic that is grow­ing up around the run brings a sense of joy to the ar­rival of spring that is just con­ta­gious.

And we are hum­bled by the honor be­cause we know of so many other great events in Ver­mont, not to men­tion some of the other events we are in­volved with right here in the heart of the King­dom, (OK we will men­tion them) like our 5 day Tour de King­dom in June, our down­right rowdy King­dom Swim and Aquafest in July, and our rad­i­cally new Aqua­man Even Up Triathlon in Au­gust. It is truly a great honor for our Dandy to be so hon­ored by Yan­kee Mag­a­zine.

How­ever, on closer read, we no­ticed that Yan­kee Mag­a­zine called our pre­cious dan­de­lion a “weed.” Ad­mit­tedly they called it “the pret­ti­est weed.” But, a “weed” nonethe­less. To this we take some mea­sure of um­brage and rise in de­fense.

The Dan­de­lion is glo­ri­ous, hardy, and wild – a “free range” flower. It was first im­ported to North Amer­ica by Euro­pean im­mi­grants be­cause of its won­der­ful prop­er­ties as a food and as an herb. Ev­ery part of the Dan­de­lion (roots, leaves, and flower) is use­ful for food, medicine, dye, wine and even white light­ning. But the Dan­de­lion broke free from the re­straints of care­fully tended gar­dens and quickly puffed its way to vir­tu­ally ev­ery field, pas­ture, and lawn in North Amer­ica. Un­like many other flow­ers, it does not re­quire at­ten­dance by hu­man hands to flour­ish. It prefers to stand or fall on its own, IN­DE­PEN­DENT AND FREE.

Up here in the heart of the North­east King­dom of Ver­mont, a place “where spring comes slowly” and the rivers flow north (as Howard Mosher would say), the first sign of spring may be when the pick­ups start drop­ping through the ice. But the com­ing of “High Spring” in the heart of the King­dom must surely be the third week in May when our fields are blanketed by mil­lions and mil­lions of dan­de­lions, set against shim­mer­ing un­cut grass, with the ap­ple trees still in blos­som, but most other trees fully leaved. Add the bright blue sky of a sunny day and the warmth of the sun full on your face and it is truly one of the most beau­ti­ful mo­ments of the en­tire year. Which is why we say, “It’s May! It’s time to run!! Just for the Fun of It!!

And so we learn that one man’s weed is an­other man’s most beau­ti­ful flower, EVER.

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