He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not…I remember plucking out the velvety white daisy petals one by one as my best friend and I eagerly waited to see how my grade school crush felt about me. The truth would be revealed as the last petal was pulled. It was intense! But of course that was before cell phones and we were easily entertained with nature and simple things.
Another important source of information was a dandelion. We’d blow on it and however many fluffy seeds were left on the ball represented how many children we were going to have one day. We’d go light-headed trying to blow them all off! These pretty yellow flowers, originally brought over with the first settlers, were once deemed valuable for food and medicine and popular in gardens in Europe. But then someone decided that a well-manicured lawn void of the free-spirited dandelions was a status symbol. Big herbicide companies have further brain-washed us into thinking they are annoying weeds. But the truth is dandelions are valuable pollinators! Even though they don’t require pollination to spread, they just avail themselves for the bees! And the entire plant is edible with considerable health benefits.
My mom says we often have a greater appreciation for things the more we know about them. She’s thankful her teacher (and mother), Olga Balli-Harris, taught her students a new flower every day. They learned about the natural world on the hillside, in the woods, and field below their one-room school. Mom says to this day she can still identify many of the wildflowers on the farm because of her mom’s lessons. It’s satisfying if we can truly “see” what we’re looking at.
Common flowers we see in the mountains are mayapples with their unmistakable umbrella shaped leaves. When Mom and her sister, Hilda, were young girls, they joined their cousins Edzel and Basil Pugh in a business venture digging mayapple roots. After the roots were dried on a tar-paper roof, the boys’ dad sold them at a farmers’ market in Weston. Story has it, to make the time go faster; the kids would play church while they dug. And one of them, (mom refused to name names to protect the “innocent”), could mimic a specific church elder praying with great enthusiasm and accuracy—even the tone of his voice.
Speaking of voices, in scripture the voice of God has been represented by wind, sometimes strong and forceful and sometimes like a gentle breeze. John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof…” Some scholars say “ the wind blows” really translates into “The Spirit breathes”. Can you imagine the power and purpose in the Breath of God? When the disciples were to scatter like dandelion seeds and plant the Gospel , Jesus breathed on them. “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:22)
In 1962 Bob Dylan released a song, “Blowin’ in the Wind” which became an anthem for that era. It highlighted people’s lack of concern-- “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend he just doesn’t see?” And it highlighted spiritual blindness--“How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?” Answers can be difficult to identify even when we’re looking right at them. But, if we listen for God’s voice, the truth can become as evident as dandelion seeds set in motion by a breath or a breeze. Allowing wind to symbolize the Holy Spirit, “The answer, my friend, is blowin in the Wind. The answer is blowin in the Wind.” And as for that daisy? I know when we pluck the LAST proverbial petal the answer will be as it always has been, “HE loves me.”
Janet Cowger- Fliegel