Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If it's green, love it

Depending on where you live, you may or may not know we are in a state of severe drought here in NM. In fact, I heard that AZ, NM, TX and FL are all off the charts for fire danger. It's no secret that Texas is under assault with wildfires right now, and we have a few of our own here in our fair state.

My heart goes out to all of you living near or in the path of a fire. I've been close, and I know what it feels like. Living here in the forest, we're always just one idiot or lightning strike away from the same fate. I say idiot because there are, unbelievably, still folks who think it's OK to burn their brush and/or trash in this area. Never mind that our local fire department trucks say "Learn not to burn". I fear this is yet another sign that my fellow citizens may not always read .

Anyhow. As I was coming in from the dog yard today, I found this little dandelion plant. I raced back into the house for my camera. What's so great about a dandelion, you ask? Well...for one...it's a sign of life that is persisting despite the dry ground (see photo I took in our yard this week...we seem to have skipped mud season). The flowers alone brought me pure joy. There are few signs of new life up here except for the lilac and rose bushes, which seem to carry on despite the worst of situations. To find these bright little flowers was like someone sending me a sweet bouquet of smiles. Never do I recall being so happy to see a dandelion.

As a kid, I grew up with my father nurturing a front yard full of dichondra "grass". Only today, after searching the internet, did I learn this pesky stuff was not even a true grass, but rather a perennial herbaceous plant of which there appear to be several species. He babied that "lawn" like it was solid gold. Heaven help you if you fouled and set foot on it, and this wasn't always easy for a kid to manage. I grew up with great disdain for the idea of a lawn, or worrying about being so fussy about Bermuda grass (his arch enemy). My attitude: if it's growing, and it's green, and it's not dangerous...love it.

In thinking back about dad and that "lawn", I can picture him still, standing in the middle of it, hand watering with the hose and sprayer, and a transistor radio plugged into his ear as he listened to Vin Scully and the L.A. Dodgers. I get it now...he needed a place of his own, somewhere to go to get away from the rest of us, a sanctuary. That's a lesson, right there, to learn to find your peace where you can.

Dad, if you happen to be editing my writing from wherever your next life has taken you, I hope you read this post and accept my apology.


Courtney said...

We don't have drought here in NE, but I used to live in Southern CA. I remember the dry times. I love your memories of your dad and his sanctuary. I'm hopeless at a truly green lawn. I always manage to have weeds. Maybe because I won't call on the chemical guys!

Orange Sink said...

It's heartbreaking to see the drought and the destruction of the wild fires. The past few years we have been in somewhat of a drought here where the farmer's were losing crops etc. Nothing like where you are though.
I am craving anything green right now too and those dandelions sure look healthy! Have you ever eaten the greens?
Stay safe!
Cathy G

Taos Sunflower said...


I'm originally from SoCal also, and I remember those fires that people would start. I always lived in the city though, and never had to be concerned for our safety. Boy, did I learn a lot in a hurry when I moved to NM! (PS The thing with weeds is, they're green! If you just mow them in, you'll never know they're they. Embrace them!) LOL

Taos Sunflower said...

Cathy: You're right, droughts take a toll wherever they happen. I have family dry farming in central Illinois, and I admire them so.

I haven't eaten the dandelion greens. I will confess here that it is my greatest accomplishment these last years to embrace eating cooked spinach...I have always found the idea of eating cooked green leaves odd. I hear they're really good for you. Perhaps I'd better make friends with them in case the going gets rough.

Kim said...

After a long cold winter, I am anxious to enjoy the first dandelion of the season too.
Sorry about your drought. I hope you stay safe from any fires.

Taos Sunflower said...

Kim: May your dandelions bloom soon!! :0)

Anonymous said...

Yes, a new sign of life from the yellow flower. Your Dad was a true Dad, dedicated to that lawn. I know him well.

The security officer at the college in Cisco had to tell students not to use charcoal grills outside! And, a major wildfire two miles north of Cisco. They can't read over here either.

(Jack of Sage to Meadow)

Taos Sunflower said...

Oh lordy, lordy, they made it all the way to college and couldn't figure that one out! Those are a danger anytime. We heard a story a few years ago about a friend of a friend who had grilled out on their deck, and not realizing it, an ember had gone done into the deck. They lost their home over that one small goof.

echiment said...

Yay! I now have a google account and can comment on your beautiful writing. I loved, loved, loved your reflections on "Remember Me" and look forward to reading the book. Fun talking this morning, Martie. It's so inspiring hearing/reading your connection to the natural world. May you stay safe during this fire season. My insurance agent was here taking pictures of my yard/forest yesterday--not a good sign I'd say.

Taos Sunflower said...

Awesome Liz, great you figured it all out. Looking forward to hearing your comments!

RuthieJ said...

Our north country dandelions are just now getting ready to bloom. We spend so much time complaining about cold and snow, and forget that others around the country have much worse situations.