Monday, May 05, 2008

Dandelions and Daisies

Bealtaine is such a riotous time of year. Suddenly everything is growing as if there is no tomorrow. The whole land is covered in a mantle of vivid new green decorated with the colour of flower and blossom. Pause for a moment and look and you can almost see things grow a little taller. All this in response to our great provider, the sun, longer days and warmer temperatures. Everything is utterly, unashamedly fecund.

Bealtaine is a time that confirms me in my path. There is a human tendency to desire order and structure, to lay down rules and laws, to want someone in control, someone to blame when things go wrong. As if on cue the British electorate have just blamed the prime minister for just about everything from the price of fuel to the sudden arrival of 'weeds' in the garden. The structure of the last three millennia has upheld order, laid down commandments and supported absolute monarchs. In its quest for order it has tried to banish anything contrary to its way of thinking. But nature isn't like this. She gives everything under the sun a fair chance, she loves diversity and blames nothing. Nature abhors order and delights in the chaos of the dance of life. 

Today is a public holiday. Many people will have spent some of the day in a garden centre buying the things they need to bring summer colour to their homes. I was taken aback by a sudden outbreak of adverts for weed killers on the television showing people how to eliminate vibrant plants like the dandelion. Some contain glyphosate that may be linked to congestion of the lungs, kidney damage and reproductive problems.

This is the control approach. There has to be order and everything has to be neat and trimmed and in its right place. Yet Bealtaine would not be Bealtaine without the overnight arrival of a carpet of dandelions and daisies greeting the sun with their riot of colour. A lawn can hardly be called a lawn unless you can blow dandelion heads to the wind and make a daisy chain for your love.

As May began I drove down the lane by my home and the verges were a shambolic delight of dandelions. What special flowers they are. There just has to be a goddess whose sole purpose is to protect dandelions and daisies and whose only desire for worship is that we give these very special plants the honour they are due. I guess She would also be delighted if you scattered a few wild flower seeds on your travels.

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