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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Enigma of Youth

Let's begin with the premise that youth, while definitely enigmatic, is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be experienced. Norma has taken a photo of the graduating dandelion class of 2017. They are in their youth and have accomplished their curriculum --a few even have their heads still on. This reminds me of my own 12th grade commencement.

Winds blew hard in my youth and many of us, like dandelions, were left without any heads, but we were resilient --as youths should be-- and our heads mostly grew back.

In youth we are clumsy and limber. I wore glasses and once accidentally stepped on them while they were still on my head. Here is a typical youth:

As Norma's camera gets closer, you can see its thoughts. Here are the thoughts of youth:
These thoughts come loose easily and spread by anemochory. This happens because of wind. Wind arrives and all thoughts fly away. Youth's friends point and laugh.

"Wind!", they say. Youth must grow a whole new head.

During this process of routine recapitation, youths are not so much driven to adulthood as confused into it. They might shout things like this:
   "The only substitute for good manners is a large and ruthless military!"
   "How dare you imply my candidate's lies are not true!"
   "I'm going to sea and dive for luffas!"

Then the storm subsides by and by and they remark, "There are many enigmas, many unknowns, and something  really ought to be done about them."

That is when a cooler head prevails and she lists the contents of the coming garden.

28 comments:

  1. I can't stop laughing at the thought of you stepping on your glasses while they were still on you head. Youth does have it's embarrassing moments! Lovely Normaphotos as always!

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    1. Thanks, Louise. I recall youth as a near-constant exaggeration of learning and doing --and yes, embarrassments-- enthusiastically shared in common.

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  2. Now I know - I think - where the derogatory expression "air head" comes from.

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    1. Could be, but I recall one of my sons, when he was in high school, telling me it came from a Charlotte Bronte novel.

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  3. Youth is wasted on the young. Though having said that, I also remember rather a lot of anxt. I wouldn't go back even if I could. I would like some of the lost flexibility though.
    And yes, the Normaphotos are, as always, a joy.

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    1. I agree, EC, and yet, yes it would be lovely to go back in time and feel that fast and strong again. But I refrain because I don't want to make a habit of it.

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  4. I'm finding as I age that I seem to be returning to the state of youthfulness you describe. The wind blows and my thoughts go with it. I am in the process of growing yet another head.

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    1. I too am always growing a new head, but only wear it after the old one has flown away. Too many heads and people stop inviting me places.

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  5. The close-up of thoughts is marvelous. And your analogy is ingenious. When I grow up I hope to have clear concise thoughts too.

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    1. Thank you dear Emma, but every time I grow up, I make the error of thinking back on youth and clear thought gets muddled.

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  6. Wonderful photos and even more wonderful imagery!

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    1. Kind Lori, thank you. And yes, I relayed your compliment to Norma.

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  7. My gr-daughters call them "air fairies". Somehow that seems to fit.

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    1. Susan, like your gr-daughters, I too am an astonished fan of wind-dispersal in plants. Amazing world for all ages.

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  8. And all of these years I thought they had achieved senior status and were about to scatter their ways and wisdom on the wind. Youth you say? Neophytes in the world of transmutation which is perhaps where true wisdom leads us eh?

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    1. Indeed, an ecological alchemy --bounty and beauty in the irreducible borne on the wind. Tom, we live amid the magic.

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  9. The "thoughts of youth" photo is exquisite. I wish my thoughts were as beautifully organized and structured as that dandelion. Is it wrong to think dandelions are lovely? Other people can curse them and dig every vestige of them out of their perfect lawns, but I rather like them. Cheerful and yellow at some times and wispy and dream-filled at others. Reminds me of one of my favorite tales about the mother and little girl who were taking a walk together. Upon seeing a yard filled with dandelions, the mother said, "Just look at all those weeds!" The little girl, with stars in her eyes, said, "Look at all those wishes!"

    Have a wonderful weekend, dude.

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    1. Susan, 40 years ago I made friends with a school custodian, a new immigrant who'd trained as an herbalist in his own country. He told me dandelion leaves were prized as digestive aids there, and he couldn't understand why people considered them weeds here. He was older than I but that "Look at all those wishes" (especially for good health) aspect was certainly present.

      Dude wishes you a wonderful weekend too.

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  10. This may explain Paul Ryan's feelings about medicare. I personally feel he is getting a little long in the tooth to still believe what he thought was true back when he was draining kegs with his fraternity bros, but that's some people for you. They never grow up.

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    1. I too hope Mr. Ryan grows out of that phase, but I'm not sure his plan to exploit vulnerable elders is attributable to youth. Young people are kinder than that.

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  11. You were a flexible young man... I'll never look at a dandelion in the same way, again.

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    1. I do miss being bendy, Sage, but was less clumsy after I grew a skeleton.

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  12. Youth certainly has all the fragility and marvelous intricate complexities of a dandelion - and is as fleeting as the breath of the wind.....

    ...and later, in mature years, we can quietly sip a cup of dandelion tea and remember.

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    1. Excellent observation, Jon, and beautifully expressed.

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  13. I have always enjoyed the dance of the dandelion's wispy seeds as the wind takes them across the landscape. It is a lovely sight and it is the way of nature. I am experiencing my own head becoming wispy at times and am hoping that when Mother Nature decides to let it all blow away that she will be kind and take me on the left course so I will not encounter any more cruelty from the right.

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    1. Arleen, I too hope our dance is the same gentle dance of dandelions --as it should be. There can be nothing "right" about cruelty and I trust we will be left.

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  14. Beautiful photos! I love the little moss garden. Moss grows freely in our back yard, and dents-de-lion in the front. I think no matter what happens to the world, the dandelions will prevail.

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    1. "dents-de-lion"? French, then, for the tooth-shape leaf edges. I learn here! Thank you! And yes, Norma kept that little pot of moss shaded and damp though our years of California drought. This year, it happily flourishes without maintenance.

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