Meeting aggression with aggression, I have gone out every day to tear up the dandelions that want to conquer my back yard. We all know that dandelions must be removed root and all if they are to be defeated, but usually the roots stick stubbornly in the ground. Nevertheless, if I pluck off the leaves and flowers every day, I think the root must eventually die. But my dandelions are learning.
Normally, dandelion flowers stand up straight and tall, sharing their cheerful yellowness with all the world. Later, their sunniness turns to snow, and the snow scatters, and all that is left behind is an empty stalk, barren as a smokestack.
It takes a hard heart to cut them down in their cheer, but experience teaches that the dandelion is a coquette, and loves you only for your yard. Do not let her in; for with her will come all her aunts, uncles, children, cousins, mothers, fathers, and friends. A colony of dandelions grows into a city, and their civilization spreads to all the brave corners of their 1/8 acre world.
But in overcoming her charms, I have released the dandelion’s cunning. After days of constant deflowering at my hands, she has stopped growing straight and tall. Now she hugs to the ground, and hides among the very grass that she seeks to enslave. Only when her snow arrives and her blossoms turn to seeds does she suddenly pop up, seeking the winds that will scatter her children.
It is an intelligent strategy; I can’t always find her, deep under the grass. Twice now I have come across an empty smokestack; the seeds scattered, a chance at life for the dandelions renewed. I can see on the stalk where it had bent and twisted, and hid from me until the last possible moment. These dandelions are smart.
How can that be possible?