far too much writing, far too many photos

So I’m here on my little hilltop fiefdom, serving time and… er, hold on… killing time, that’s what I meant. I’m here killing time… no, wait — passing time, that’s it, that’s what I’m doing…. me, up in northern Vermont passing time, becoming far too accustomed to mowing far too much lawn. Used to be lawn, anyway. That was before it became a dandelion forest. Which, when they were all yellow and pretty, seemed just fine. Was a beautiful rustic sight then — a sweeping expanse of bright yellow blossoms strewn among the deepening green of warm-season grass. Over the last few days, however, the butter-colored buggers transformed themselves into a sweeping spread of dandelion sperm launchers.

It happened in a way that hints at something communal, a deep interconnectedness of some sort. Or at least a nasty vegetal conspiracy. Last weekend I cut much of the ocean of lawn that gets mown around this house, which meant cutting many, many dandelions. Some had already bolted, turning from yellow blossoms to large white puffballs. And right away I noticed — I’m not exaggerating here — that many of them, both yellow and white, seemed to pull themselves down to the earth, huddling below the level of the mower blades in an attempt to evade rolling death. If there had only been the occasional dandelion, I might have taken the time to bend down and yank out the recalcitrants, but we’re talking about a virtual infestation, a situation that’s gone from a lawn with dandelions to dandelions occasionally separated by teensy bits of lawn. And what the hell — this is the country, not the ‘burbs. The early warm-season display of yellow is genuinely pretty, and who wants to get anal about something like that out in rural territory? More and more of them showed, the display become ever prettier. Until I cut a lot of them down. Some of them hid, as I’ve mentioned, and after the shock of their brush with death an alarm of some sort shot through their community, an instruction to BOLT!! BOLT NOW!! HURRY, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!

Next day, reappearing dandelions speckled the newly-mown lawn, stretching themselves up as high as they could manage, transforming from yellow to white overnight, ready to spread the seeds for the next generation before I could pull out the mower and run ‘em down again. With every passing day, the forest of white puffballs has grown more dense, more concentrated, fluffy dandelion sperm shooting into the air every time a breeze riffled through it all.

It turned ugly. I mean authentically ugly. No longer sweetly pretty yellow blossoms — instead, a stark, brazen extravaganza of reproduction. A forest of dandelion erections, some with full white, fluffy afros, others in the process of releasing their payloads, others shockingly bare, wads shot and long gone.

Rain fell earlier in the day, I could do no cutting until after the evening Buffy The Vampire Slayer re-run. It was astonishing how many puffwads I had to wipe out, and as before many attempted to pull themselves down to the earth in a primitive self-preservation impulse, so that I often had to make more than one pass to nail them. At which time they exploded in swirling, orgasmic clouds of ejaculation, firing off enough seeds to ensure that I will have many generations of dandelions to slaughter in the coming weeks. Cloud after cloud of dandelion seeds released into the evening air. Now I begin to understand the impulse that drives so many suburban homeowners to dump poisons on their lawn.

Still, as I mowed and the evening light faded, any time I’d stop and shut off the mower engine, I found myself out there in the falling darkness, the air full of the singing of crickets (just beginning to appear) and peepers (just beginning to wane).

Peaceful. Soothing. It may be that a dandelion bacchanalia of reproduction is a small price to pay to get me out there, soaking up the rest of the scene.

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