What’s in a Weed?

by Ethan Seavey

Illustration by Ethan Seavey

When I was a young boy of Midwestern Suburbia, I plucked a bouquet of dandelions. The flowers were so vibrant, approaching the color of the crayon I’d always use for the sun. I gave them a cup to live in and water to drink; and they were the sun wilting indoors. They sat on the table as I did my homework, until someone older came along to tell me that my flowers were evil and malicious weeds, that I should throw them away before Mom spots them.

That was when I learned: a weed is a dandelion and dandelions should be plucked. When you find one, you go into the garage and find that green metal pole with fingers like a claw machine’s on one end. Then you locate the chest of the weed, push the metal into the ground, raise your foot and stomp on the metal bar. You break up the earth a little; you adjust the pole; and the metal claw is ready and eager to choke it out. At last, you smack the button on the top of the pipe, and those magic iron fingers grab the roots of your prey. 

Weeds are dumped on the sidewalk now and gathered into plastic bags later so they don’t re-root or go to seed. Weeds should be pulled before they are little puffballs; and blowing puffballs in the yard is spreading the evil. 

Dandelions aren’t the only weeds but they’re the only ones that you’ll see. They are not beautiful; they cannot be, because they are invaders. 

In Oak Park, the first suburb west of Chicago, everything is by human design. Every tree is planted and maintained by the village.. Every lawn is a dense green, watered every morning and cut every Saturday. If your yard is unkempt, you are fined. If you plant native, yellow grass, you’re disturbing the system and lowering property values. Read more »