Dandelions fascinate me. These pesky plants, often referred to as weeds, are hearty, resilient, and strong and at the same time delicate, graceful, and intricate. During the winter I had the chance to watch a dandelion transform through its growth phases. It somehow ended up thriving in an abandoned planter in my front yard—one of those spaces where I always have plans to have something beautiful grow—but lack of consistent watering and attention seem to spell doom for whatever I purposely plant there. We’d about given up on the planter, planning to relegate it to the back yard where it wouldn’t be such an eyesore—its been just a planter of dirt for some time–when I noticed a dandelion flower blooming bright and yellow seemingly oblivious to the neglect of this newfound home. I grabbed my macro lens for my iphone and worked to capture that sunny globe.
Each day as I arrived home from work, before the daylight had dimmed, I noticed another phase of the dandelion’s life and attempted to capture it with my macro lens. I love the way the macro forces me to slow my breathing, lean in close, and look carefully. Steadiness is paramount to a successful photo—and I find myself angling the lens this way and that as I work to achieve the optimal focus on some aspect of my subject.
As the dandelion turned from yellow flower to white fluffball, I realize how little thought I had really given to these two very different versions of the same plant. Like so many people I had played with these “weeds” as a child, picking these little fluffballs and blowing while I made wishes, never considering that I was in fact helping their cause as those pieces of fluff, each with a seed, attaches floated to a new home.
I got closer still and worked to capture what happened day by day as the dandelion naturally progressed. And that’s when my view of dandelions was forever transformed.
I became obsessed with taking pictures of dandelions…in all their states. And I began seeing what had once been ordinary in new and extraordinary ways.
Instead of my “go about my business without paying too much attention to the little things” stance, I suddenly had a caterpillar’s eye view, which opened up new ways of seeing.
So my takeaway…look closely and pay attention to the ordinary, searching for the hidden beauty. I feel like that’s also a lesson to heed even without my iphone in my hand. In my classroom and in my work with teachers I also need to search for the hidden beauty masked by the ordinary–that’s where the treasures lie. What treasures are hiding from you?