Childhood, End of Year 14

Three months of glorious summer stretch ahead — we may be (mostly) shut in, threatened by a virus, wondering about the fall and the future — but the apple and lilac blossoms are profuse.

Early mornings and dusky evenings, I water barefoot in the garden, carrying buckets silently, listening. My daughter waits for a game of soccer. When I lean against her trampoline and ask what’s up, she says merely, Nothing.

There’s no arguing here. That nothing encompasses a great deal these days, including the studious picking apart of dandelion heads.

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Vermont Gold

To get to my daughter’s preschool, years ago, I had to drive up the Center Road from Hardwick to Greensboro, along enormous farm fields. In May, the fields were nearly covered with blooming dandelions — or dandies as she called them.

‘Tis the season now for blooming dandelions — their first and brightest bloom of the season, against blue mountains and iridescent green fields.

When I was very young, with my years still countable on one hand, my family traveled to Ames, Iowa, from the New Mexican desert where I had always lived. In Iowa, I discovered green: sunlight through leaves and running barefoot on grass beneath a sprinkler. In that early-childhood magical way, this upthrusting spring season always reminds me of the implicit goodness of being four again.

It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew…

— Rilke

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(Not a dandelion….)