On June 21, 2021, the first full day of summer, The Denver Gazette published my feature about dandelions along with eye-catching fine art photographs of dandelions by Denver artist Dianne Allison.
For the article, I interviewed a landscape designer who advocates for native plants. She emphasized that dandelions play an important role in our landscapes and eco culture. I also interviewed the founder of the medicinal plants garden at Denver Botanic Gardens, who emphasized that dandelions are good food and medicine. And I interviewed a certified arborist from a local tree and lawn care company who said dandelions aren’t really harming lawns or trees, but are more an aesthetic and tolerance issue.
In my own organic garden, I dig dandelions after rain storms. I have eaten dandelion greens in salads and green shakes. I have made dandelion fritters from the blossoms, and dandelion vinegar from the roots. However, I live in the city alongside neighbors with pristine lawns, so I don’t let my dandelions go wild — tho’ they’d like to, no doubt.
If able to wish upon a dandelion seed, I’d wish for the sea change required for humans to embrace dandelions and learn to cultivate them without letting them get totally out of control. After all, European immigrants intentionally brought dandelions to the New World. Our new perspective on dandelions as plants for food and medicine rather than weeds would made a difference to our yards and our planet.
For more about healthy soil and the web of life, watch the documentary film “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix.
When the magazine Colorado Yoga + Life editor put out a call for articles about yoga and vitality, the first person I thought of was Deborah Baker. An Iyengar certified instructor and a longtime leader in the Denver yoga community, Deborah also is a cancer survivor and the picture of vitality.
Deborah and I reconnected about a year ago when a local photographer, Tina Hagerling, invited me to participate in her series of people photographed doing their thing at home during pandemic quarantine. Initially, I thought about yoga poses on my front porch, where I had rolled out my sticky mat to practice after our yoga studio closed. But then I realized I might not have picture perfect yoga poses.
Instead, I opted to be photographed in my big overalls and straw gardening hat because I had been using the front porch ledge as a potting bench. I was concerned about fresh food, so I was focused on growing greens, vegetables, fruits and herbs during lockdown when grocery stores seemed a version of Russian roulette.
I liked the idea of a yogi in Tina’s series, though, knowing how many yoga practitioners were forced into home practice. When Tina asked me if I knew others who might want to participate, I put her in touch with Deborah.
One of Tina’s photos appears with my story about Deborah, and one of Tina’s photo of me also appears in the issue with my brief author’s biography at the end of my article.
Yoga studios reopened. Mask mandates were lifted. And I now have a silver lining home yoga studio.