Letter from a dandelion

My dear sister,

How I miss you! That gust of wind came so suddenly I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye properly. Poof! And I was gone, blown away from the fluffy sphere of seeds we were once part of. I know I should be excited, but right now, I’m just homesick.

Home wasn’t always pleasant, it’s true. It was scary when the larvae would land on our leaves, and people would pick up our friends to blow a wish. I wonder why they do that—it’s not like we have any power over their wishes.

But I guess no one told them that. I remember hearing that once upon a time, they used to love us for all the things we helped them with. They ate us, used us for medicine, and then there’s the wish thing I was talking about.

Some people still eat us, but a lot of others don’t seem to like us very much. Not even just for food, but in general, it seems like they’re trying to get rid of us. I wonder why. Not that I particularly like the idea of being picked and eaten. But at least if they ate us, they wouldn’t want to get rid of us, the way so many people want to do now.

Did you know we were brought over to the Americas on purpose? Someone crossed all of the Atlantic Ocean with us, just to make sure we would be there too. And now they spray those awful chemicals all over their lawns, just to make them look greener, without thinking that those same chemicals are bad for everyone else, too. Don’t they know we’re good for the soil? That our roots bring up nutrients from the soil so other plants can use them too?

But I’m sorry for the tangent. You know how I get when I start talking about a subject I care about. Where was I? Oh right, I was being nostalgic.

I’m going to describe what our home looked like; if I write it down, maybe I’ll remember it for longer. It was a nice little patch of grass, somewhere in some city. It’s funny, I never bothered to learn its name. I guess it wasn’t that important. In a garden somewhere, maybe? Or a park? I just remember there being some big trees nearby. I hope they’re doing well.

And the plant we grew up on—aside from you, that’s what I miss the most. The more I think of her, the more nostalgic I become. It’s amazing, all the things she did. All the roots she grew (and they were long, too), the leaves that formed a little rose at the base of her stems. Because she didn’t just grow one, but two! Imagine the energy that must have taken. Two full flowering stems at the same time. So many of us little florets, forming the two flowers that (I hope) were her pride and joy. And both flowers supported by just a little hollow stem—so easily broken, and yet they stayed strong the whole time. I hope it was worth it. But then (without sounding too self-important), I suppose that without the flowers, she wouldn’t have been able to reproduce. That’s something to think about, I guess, when I’m feeling bad. Even this far away from her, we’re still helping.

When I think of the little florets we once were, yellow and bright and young, tears almost spring to my eyes (or they would, if I had any). We lived so happily, photosynthesising and chatting away. Remember the butterflies that would come for the nectar? It tickled so much when they took it that we would close up in the afternoon, just in case they came back. But they never did. I think they were on to us.

But time passes, as all things must. I remember being terrified of leaving home. I didn’t want to turn into a seed, I didn’t want to grow the beak and the pappus that allowed us to drift through the sky, I didn’t want to leave all that I had ever known. And I know, we only really lived as florets for a few days. But I don’t remember anything from before that, so those few days were my entire life. I bet you were scared too, no matter how brave you acted. But I really should thank you for that—if you had seemed as scared as me, I don’t know how well I would have handled this transition.

Not that I had much of a choice. The head of the flower, the part that held us all together, really, dried; the yellow petals dried; all that was left was us little achenes, the little fruits that were supposed to carry on our family thanks to the single seed we carried with us. Oh, how I trembled in those days—with every breeze I was convinced I’d be blown away. And then one day I was.

But I have to say, now that it’s happened, I’m quite happy about it. The voyage was exciting! I didn’t know where I was, or where I was going, but it was all new, all things I had never seen before. You know, I knew what spiderwebs were, and I had always admired how pretty they were, dewdrops glinting in the early morning sunlight. But I had never seen them close up, and on my journey I nearly flew into at least three. The spiders weren’t too happy, but I apologised and hopefully they’ll get over it. And there were so many houses, and people, and animals, and rocks and leaves and trees and flowers and so many more things that I’ve since forgotten! And I never would have seen them if it hadn’t been for that particularly strong gust of wind that separated us.

I drifted through the air like this for a long time. I’m not sure if it was hours, or days—after a while you stop keeping track. At least I did—was it the same for you? But eventually I landed on a little patch of grass, somewhere by a fountain. It’s not that different from where we grew up, actually, but it still feels so new. As soon as it rains a little I think I’ll send down a few roots. It’ll feel more like home, then.

What about you? Where did you end up? Are you still on our mother plant, or have you found your own way? I thought I saw you get blown away at the same time I did, but maybe I was wrong. Write back to me whenever you get a chance; I’ll let all the bees know where I am, so you can ask them for the address. In the meantime, I hope you’re doing well. It’s different now, with everything that’s happened to us, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

Yours from away,
Your sister

This article is from issue

CC Kids 16

2022 Dec