We Live In Dandelion Times

By Peter Wrinch. Posted on August 30, 2018 in Stories + Recipes

“We live in dandelion times”
– Amos Clifford

A couple weeks ago, I took my first complimentary program at Hollyhock (our regular staff get one per season). I chose something that was outside of my regular thing: The Council of Waters and Trees with Amos Clifford. It was a forest bathing program.

Lots of people have asked me, “What is Forest Bathing?” After going through the program, I would say that it is about connecting to the “more than human world” through a practice of mindfulness that compels you to slow down and lean into your experience of the world and the forest. During the week, I spent a lot of time walking through the Hollyhock forest. I had a conversation with a wise fern near the pond and a deep connection with an apple in the backyard of the bluff house. Like I said, outside of my regular thing – but unexpectedly profound, none-the-less.

Throughout the week Amos Clifford talked about dandelions and how they work to heal land that has been damaged by fire or otherwise. Despite their healing properties, they are generally considered a pest by humans and are often sprayed with poisons or uprooted. And yet, undeterred by our efforts, dandelions persist. They come back and heal the land. Amos pushed us to find inspiration from dandelions in these unusual and unsettling times.

More than anything else, the world needs you to show up right now. This is not a time for nihilism or self indulgence. This is time to bring the best of what you have to offer and give it and give it harder than you have given it before. In our organizations (like Hollyhock!), in our communities, in our relationships, and in our families. The type of showing up that is required is not easy. It is not easy in the 5th month of a 6-month season at Hollyhock, nor is it in long-term relationships with loved ones. But, it is what is necessary now. The world is waiting for you.

We live in dandelion times.

Yours in power,


P.S. Our good friend Mike Moore from Misty Isles Adventures pointed out that the dandelion is actually mostly an invasive species. And while they might have some positive transformative influences on the land, we should be mindful of where and how we allow them to settle, and that the land has its own natural ways of healing. Thanks for this insightful addition Mike!

Showing 3 comments
  • Colleen Campbell

    I spent three months on farmland in the Peace River Valley and noted that dandelions grew everywhere on bare land and in the case of raspberry bushes, could be dug into the ground to nourish the raspberry crop…..and dandelions filled in all the spaces between the alfalfa and then once the alfalfa had been cut, the dandelions grew dark long leaves that left dark tracts where the fields had been bright green.. I should mention that in late spring the dandelions were a mass of yellow blooms and much appreciated by both bees and as a food source to other grazers and nibblers…..then came the seed, parachuting to unknown bare spots. I should mention that the dandelion is considered an invasive species in the Peace….so what does it mean to be dandelion people…that I do not know!…only that I would like to be one of them, having found myself blown into Hollyhock many times with a spot to bloom and grow a few dark leafy greens.

  • Amos Clifford

    Thanks for the article Peter! Looking forward to coming back to Hollyhock this year.
    Regarding Dandelion, I use it as a metaphor when I’m teaching about the phenomenon of “Earth Dreaming.” We are each born carrying seeds of the Earth’s dreaming. The Earth knows what is needed now; the medicines we carry, given to us through the Earth’s dreaming, are needed now. Our job is to find the relationships of belonging that nurture and help the seeds we carry grow. Over time we learn to embody what we were born to carry. However, this is not guaranteed. Thus, the Earth will seed a particular medicine in many places, knowing that some seeds will not take and others will thrive. This is the “Dandelion Principle.” One of the ways to recognize an Earth Dreaming is that is an idea that spontaneously emerges in many places, carried by many people. Like seeds of the Dandelion. Some people will have the right circumstances and capacity, and be in the right kinds of relationships, for these ideas to take root and grow. So, that’s the context. I hope it helps! We’ll explore this again in July 2019, when Christy and I will return to Hollyhock for another Council of Waters and Trees.

  • Heidi Krieger

    The “invasive” species actually serve a deeper purpose than we can imagine. As Peter shared in his article, the Dandelion persists, despite our efforts to eradicate them, because they have a purpose…every plant and being has a purpose. Often times we call a species invasive because it literally takes over an area…usually one disturbed by man….the so called weeds….including invasives….come in to heal the wound and regenerate the land. If we would not interfere, and let them be long enough, we would see other plants succeeding them, The invasives actually invite us to accept change….Katrina Blair in her book, the Wild Wisdom of Weeds), speaks of wild weeds as an “example of Nature’s creative edge….leading the way of the new frontier that is constantly forming” She speaks of them as actually creating more biodiversity, if they are actually allowed to exist….they draw up nutrients for other succession plants to take over, thus completing their purpose/cycle of existence.

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