Dandy came into the world slowly, her yellow petals still curved

back toward her center protectively.



Gradually, she let the first of them stretch outward into the huge

world that lay beyond her bud.



Feeling safer by the moment, she opened further,



enjoying the new feeling of freedom she was experiencing,


until at last she was in the fullness of her bloom.



After several minutes, she became aware she was part of a specific clump of

fellow dandelions



and then that her clump was part of a larger grouping of dandelions



that together made a vast field of lovely yellow.



Dandy's best friend was Leona, who grew immediately

beside her.



Soon, it became evident that being a dandelion, though it LOOKED

quite easy, was, in fact, very difficult...especially when the cattle came

and lay heavily down upon Uncle Daniel's entire extended family



or large objects plummeted suddenly from the sky, landing

dangerously near.



Sometimes ants walked on her, which was most unpleasant, as she was

extremely ticklish. 



The bees and wasps moved over her lightly, looking for her nectar and pollen.

She didn't really mind them.



Well, except when a bumble bee would come.  How her stem didn't break she

never quite understood. 



And one heard stories, one did, frightful tales of marauding box turtles

on wild rampages



or, worse yet, ...lobster parties!!!



She didn't mind so much when the little girl came to dance



and even the boys, well, they were rougher but their hearts seemed so

full of joy as they ran that she just ducked to one side and smiled as

they passed by.



Though she DID wonder, truly she did, if the tales were true that she heard of what

happened to her fellows who were...picked...



Were they REALLY taken inside and fed to lizards...



and mice?!?



It made her petals stand straight up on end just thinking about it!



But she saw enough strange things right there in her field to make her think the

stories might just be true.  She recalled how humans came and held Lonnette

to make her yellow reflect on each other's skin...



or gathered masses of them into some bundled baby form.




How some of her cousins had been woven into crowns






and necklaces



even for DOGS!!!



And bears came to nibble on Lloyd and Leo last Tuesday



right before the deer ate Louise,



Granny made her salad,



and Dominique was blatantly devoured on the spot! Yes, being a

dandelion was no piece of cake!!!



She began to wonder about her future, though, should she actually

survive the crows



and the investigations of toddlers



that had left so many of her kind shredded on the pavement.



She had hopes for more than becoming part of an "A" in someone's




or, perish the thought, a...hat!!!



Sometimes Dandy felt rather crowded amongst her fieldfellows



almost as though she were growing in some crack somewhere.



She cocked her head,



lifting her face up to the wide and open sky, watching the sun



and thinking how similar the two of them were in form.



When she looked back, Leona had...changed!!!



She was not only taller, but all her sleek yellow had been

replaced by fluffy white!



Dandy was confused and swayed dizzily on her stem.



"Leona!" she cried, leaning close, "what's happened?"



But a grey cloud covered the sky and Leona was silent.



Dandy missed the fellowship of their kindred days



and paid no attention when the white butterfly came and sat atop her.



Did she sleep? She didn't know. All she knew was that suddenly she

was aware again and...



and was...somehow...reemerging from her bud.



When she was open, she looked just like Leona!!



Gazing about, she was amazed to see that her entire clump all now had the

fuzzy white heads.



Indeed, every dandelion in the area about her was white...



That night, as twilight deepened, they all danced in the blueness of

the dusk



and she delighted in the glowing light of the moon upon her form.



"What now?" she asked those closest to her. "What do we become




She thought perhaps a...fountain?



Or perhaps all of them could light a park somewhere in Florida?



Or at least end up with something of weight in this world.




But Leona remained silent and oddly transparent.



Before her very eyes, Leona's beautiful white head began to...let go



sifting gracefully down to the grasses below them



until but a single strand of it remained.



And Dandy was alone again.



Well...not really...



for being a puff might well prove as dangerous...or more so...

than being a yellow flower.



She saw the delight with which humans blew away the substance

of her fieldmates...



of how the older ones instructed the younger



so that even at early ages they were quite expert at it,



sometimes even coming in vicious gangs to gather puffs



and blow their fluff away



until the ground was littered with puff stuff.



In great concern she spoke with the gentle statue that lived among

the dandelions of the field...



whose advice was to avoid stuffed dinosaurs,



yellow beanbag dolls,



staring puppies,



children with thoughts of magic wands,



competitive couples,



and those with egos that led them to try three for one.



That night Dandy dreamed of something she had never seen.

It looked a lot like her, but was...different.



And in the dream, both she and it were lifted toward the

gleaming sun.



The next day she used the lifting lightness of her puff



to raise herself as high on her stem as she could.



But the clouds returned and it was not until too late,



not until the last moment of the day that the sun appeared again,



bathing her for one sweet second in golden light



before sinking below the horizon



taking her glow as it went



and leaving her pale again as night came on.



In the dark she thought perhaps she might follow Leona

and let her puffparts just...float away...



fading into nothingness with the coming of the dawn.



But a ladybug climbed her stem and spoke softly with her for

some hours, getting her through the night



until she began to see the essence of who she was



so that she was ready to greet the dawn



and let its silver rays sparkle on her form



becoming part of all she was



until with all her strength, she lifted her head



up to the rising light



and...touched it,



drawing it into herself



until she glowed, like it, as it, with it...from within



and burst with the explosive joy of light;



becoming yet again changed in her appearance...a flower made

of light itself



and shining down



as a new dandelion turned toward the sun


and lifted its face to the light.




Jo Anzalone 11-6-2006