The First Dandelion
Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass—innocent, golden,
calm as the dawn,
The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.
Dashing around Santa Fe last week, running errands, I saw signs of spring everywhere: delicate pinkish-white blossoms dressing up the gnarled apricot trees on McKenzie Street, daffodils nodding in front of the First Presbyterian Church, and two dandelions poking their yellow heads out of the grass next to the front door of Cedarwood Veterinary Clinic.
Reviled as they were when I was a kid—Mom had a long-handled tool with a forked end that we dubbed “the toad stabber” to keep the pests from taking up residence in our bluegrass lawn—the first sight of the cheery golden blossoms is as thrilling to me as the first crocus.
On the day after Whitman’s poem* was published in the New York Herald in March of 1888 a blizzard buried the city. The poet took heat from irate readers. That’s the spring I know.
Winter is likely to make a snowy, cold comeback in the coming weeks, but I’m willing to bet those two dandelions will be standing tall, ready for wishes, by the time I return to the vet clinic to buy more cat treats.