Do not dwell on the past, do the new thing SanTan Sun News

Do not dwell on the past, do the new thing

Do not dwell on the past, do the new thing
Spirituality
0

By Lynne Hartke

Guest Writer

 

I had forgotten the hard work that is needed at the start of a large project, even one similar to what I had done in the past. 

I spent the morning doing more deleting than adding as I worked on a writing project, trying various paragraphs before chucking the entire thing and starting again. When my daily word count reached a negative number, I knew it was time to take a break. My brain needed a rest from nouns, verbs and prepositional phrases. 

“Walk?” I asked my trail-loving dog, Mollie, who headed for the door to join me on a diversion through the wildflowers. We hiked among flowers I would expect to find in northern Arizona this time of year—the one-inch, white-flowering bindweed from the morning glory family and the tall trumpet-shaped scarlet gilia that are loved by hummingbirds. We also passed several four-inch white spheres of umbrella-connected seeds that looked like giant dandelions.

A quick search on my phone revealed the plants were yellow salsify, also known as western salsify, goat’s-beard, or by the scientific name, Tragopogon dubius. The roots and greens are edible and were brought by early European settlers as a food source. The plant is also called vegetable oyster as the parsnip-style root has a faint oyster flavor. 

The salsify is now considered an invasive species, not unlike the regular dandelions my dad had waged war against every summer when I was a child growing up in Minnesota. 

He had dug them up, sprayed them with vinegar and with weed killer, and still they had grown like gold jewels on an emerald lawn.

None of this history on salsify or musings on dandelions interested Mollie, who was more interested in sniffing out ground squirrels and chipmunks, than a flowering bloom known for following the sun. She brushed against one feathery globe and the tiny parachutes dispersed seeds into the wind, landing on the grass, the dirt and as tiny hitchhikers on Mollie’s long fur, guaranteeing the future of more golden flowers next year.

I tugged at the dried roots of one salsify plant, carefully carrying the attached white globe back to the cabin where I placed it in a vase next to my computer. As I began typing on the unfinished assignment, I noticed one lone parachuted seed stuck to my sweater.

Sometimes an ending is just a beginning preparing to launch.

-Lynne Hartke is the author of Under a Desert Sky and the wife of pastor and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. She blogs at lynnehartke.com.

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