Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some See a Weed. Some see a Wish.

I saw the photo below online today and it reminded  me of an incident when I was about 4 years old before my school days.

I was  playing in our garden and spotted an interesting variety of dandelions, buttercups and daisies in the lawn. The numbers of them and the colours had me completely hooked. I knew my mother liked flowers so I began to gather them and made up a good sized bunch. I then arranged them as a small posie and proudly brought it in to my mother. I was convinced that she would be delighted.

"Here's some nice flowers for you Mammy" I beamed.

I didn't get the reaction I expected. There was laugher.

"Ah son, those are just weeds!"

I was deflated. I stood there quietly and my smile disappeared. My mother could see my reaction and began to become more sympathetic. Eventually we agreed to put the "flowers" into a little glass vase. They were on display when my Dad came home from work. There were more sniggers but it was said that I was a good boy.

I wasn't convinced. It was like in later school life being told - "okay, but could have done much better." It was the first time I had been told that there is a difference between flowers and weeds. What I had thought was beautiful was in fact worthless.

To this day I can get rather annoyed at how we can often dismiss certain flowering wild plants in a negative way. I suppose it's because as adult gardeners dandelions, buttercups and daisies upset our nice green lawns and propagate too easily. But these flowers can still look nice in a lawn, especially to a child, it's a matter of attitude.

It all reminds me of how children and adults look at clouds in the Joni Mitchel song Both Sides Now. Are clouds "rows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air" or is it that "now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone "?