Thursday, May 26, 2011

Commencement, or Things Are Not Always What They Seem

It's the season of graduations and commencements. Same thing, really, but in the former case people tend to think of them as the end of a process, and in the latter case, a beginning. For some reason this spent dandelion (top photo) made me ponder the difference. Normally, after the seeds are gone, you might think the dandelion is done. Has fulfilled its mission, so to speak. However, instead of having the typical drooping sepals, this one looks fresh and still has one seed left to yield. Also, the dandelion has a hardy root. Not only will it be back, but its progeny are all over the neighborhood, or possibly the world, bringing delight or hostility to millions. I'm one of the delighted ones. I identify with the weeds as survivors. One of my first jobs was picking dandelions out of our lawn for a penny apiece. My brother and I conspired to always leave a few so we wouldn't make our job obsolete. If we had known how resilient dandelions are, we wouldn't have hesitated to pick them all.
So, I'll be attending a commencement soon. I'll present my seniors, knowing that for some graduation is the end of a kind of marathon, and for others, a pit stop on a race to the future. Some will feel lucky to have made it, and will be looking for jobs or military service right away. Others will feel proud and well prepared for greater adventures and much more learning. The latter group will definitely see their commencement as a kind of beginning.
So, on the theme of "things are not always what they seem," the dandelion may seem dead, but it's really at a beginning.
The other two photos, in terms of this theme, are a Lilac, which is actually an Olive, and a Clover, which is actually a Pea. When I see a Lilac and enjoy its fragrance, the last thing I think of is olives, yet the Lilac is in the olive family, Oleaceae. The Clover, of course, is in the pea family, Fabaceae.
I'll close with an updated announcement of "Adventures in Nature Journaling." My class, through Feather River College, is now scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11th at the FRC Student Center. Watch for details in next Wednesday's Feather River Bulletin, or e.mail me.

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