Celebrating the Dandelion – a glorious “free range” flower
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.