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The Magic of Dandelions by Gloria Osborne

At first, one might think that using the dandelion as a cover for this book is because it reminds us of the coronavirus. And you’d be partially right. At first glance, it reminds us of the virus itself,even though the dandelion is much more delicate and exquisite. And yet its attributes have many similarities to the virus.

While they have both proven themselves to be quite hardy and resilient to extermination, the dandelion provides nutrients and support to the very organs targeted by the virus for destruction. Spreading their seeds on currents of air, often created by the children blowing on them and squealing with delight at the magic of their dance, dandelions find places to hide until they can sprout again, delighting some of us with their beauty and usefulness. The virus spreads much the same way, although more surreptitiously, creating harm to those it infects.

Many consider the dandelion a weed and yet every part of its structure has a significant purpose. Its flowers,when bright and yellow, are filled with vitamin C and can be eaten, made into wine, woven as a wreath for the hair or gathered into a beautiful bouquet. Its young leaves can be put into fresh salads, sautéed or steamed as a fresh vegetable. And its roots, when dried, can be ground and used as a coffee or tea substitute. It is known for its detoxifying effect on the liver and its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as lowering blood pressure and supporting the immune system.

As a weed, it is a well-known nitrogen fixator for the soil, breaking up compacted or disturbed soil with its long tap root and carrying calcium and nitrogen to the soil surface for other plants. It is also a good source of nutrients for many pollinators,ecologically it might be seen as a “giant” in the web of life, full of life-sustaining qualities. In many ways, it is the antithesis of the virus—life-giving versus life-destroying.

And yet, both are providing life-affirming hope that we can transform our present way of life into something more valuable and equitable for the entire planet. As we have taken steps to protect ourselves from the virus, we have improved the air and water quality all over the world, restoring life in many places. We have found new ways of engaging with each other at work, school and home.Weare realizing the possibilities for creating a more just and peaceful worldwhere we become active participants in the regeneration of the web of life and creating a balance precluding the growth of such devastating viruses.As we restore the planet to its previous healthy ecological systems, we can all learn from the dandelion how to spread our seeds of love and commitment to one another, indiscriminately, reaching every corner of isolation and destruction, in order to heal and to be whole again.

This is the magical lesson of the dandelion, a dance of borderless inclusivity as it nourishes and nurtures everything around it with its beauty and healing properties, inviting each of us to join its dance and do the same.

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