Monday, May 4, 2009

Dandelions


My university's campus is immaculate. Anyone who's been there knows that. The scattered cigarette butts and gums wrappers which plague most other campuses are totally absent. Tulips and pansies sit proudly in their well tended beds, and the trees themselves offer a friendly palate of colors ranging from the deepest greens to the most somber of reds. Every day after classes, I begin my hike down from campus. Usually I'm leaving from the proximity of the Humanities building. It's a magnificent glass and stone structure, rising like a titan of scholarship, complete with a stunning rocky fountain. As I continue walking, the Maeser building is not far off, the home to the Honors Program. There, a bronze Karl G. Maeser stands watching over the university, reminding us that the institution is not just one of mind, but of soul--that a graduate from this university is not expected to develop only a rigorous passion for learning, but a character fit to match the mountains which surround it.

And then I leave Karl and start my descent down the hill. Happy co-eds sit on their balconies smiling, conversing and strumming guitars. I smile and walk on. I come to a cross walk with bright orange safety flags for crossing. You're supposed to pick one up and signal with it as you walk, depositing it on the other side. I have never seen anyone use them. If I could do a cartwheel or juggle, that is how I would cross the street every time, and the only conditions under which I would use those flags.

But then as I move even further south, I see something that relentlessly irritates me. Dandelions. Entire rainforests of dandelions cover the many shabby yards of the many shabby houses. It's a long walk back from campus, and I encounter the dandelions in the very last leg of the journey. It puts me in such a foul mood that when I see my apartment, I can think of nothing more than how much I want to go inside. It is a tragedy that just a few blocks south of such a well kept campus are so many weeds.

Today as I was coming back from a film on campus, I saw a portly woman about my age cutting her lawn right by my home. She was one of the worst dandelion offenders, and I was glad to see her striking the fiends down, despite my knowledge that simply cutting them down will not get rid of them, but will only help them spread there seeds. I thought about offering to help her cut her yard, seeing as how she was a lady and I a gentleman, but then I saw that she was almost done, and might feel embarrassed by the offer, or worse yet, think that I might be judging her and her work. So I smiled and walked on.

And then I noticed something in my lawn that I never had before. Like a writhing den of diabolical serpents lay hundreds of twisting, turning, disgusting dandelions.

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