Of Dogwoods and Dandelions

If we needed confirmation beyond Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow that winter wasn’t through with us yet, the fact that I packed away my sweaters last week should have cinched it. It’s almost April, I thought. The sight of all my shorts organized and hanging so neatly in my closet cracked me up this morning. Especially as I grabbed my scarf, long-sleeved sweatshirt, and scrounged around for my jeans. A belated April Fool’s joke on me! Oh well!

Last night’s cold spell may have nipped at our plum blossoms but the delicate dogwood petals would not be deterred. Their edges have curled a bit, but they will bounce, bloom, and bounce again. Then, as I walked around the yard surveying the damage, a cluster of bright yellow dandelion flowers caught my eye. Aha! Another survivor!

I’ve written before about the capriciousness of spring in North Carolina, and for all the drama, at least it’s exciting. What plants will come back, and what plants have already said goodbye? The toughest, like the dandelions, have strong roots, rely on their “friends” for support, and know that if they hang on just a little bit longer, they’ll make it in the end.

The parallels between the hardiest of weeds and writing are obvious, so I won’t restate them here. I’ve hunkered down this winter and spent my time indoors writing, learning from other writers, and whooshing my work out the door. I was thrilled to have two flash essays published in Permafrost, my first article in Wired magazine, and also a service piece in Carolina Woman for Mother’s Day. And because April is National Poetry Month, I collaborated with my friends at Women on Writing to focus on poetry, and pulled together a special 5-Minute Poetry Guide in the monthly newsletter. FYI, it’s also chock full of markets and contests for writers of all genres, so I encourage you to take a look.

Today, however, I am struggling, with an essay that just won’t take off the ground. But I’m going to take a lesson from those dandelions and hang in there.

4 thoughts on “Of Dogwoods and Dandelions

  1. Ashley, I loved your hybrid work, TWO ESSAYS. I’ve never seen this format before. It works remarkably well. The clever format, the serious message delivered in a semi-lighthearted tone, they all make TWO ESSAYS outstanding!

    1. Thank you Diane! You are so sweet. You could easily write one of these, too. Just take one of your favorite “how-to” manuals and layer it with whatever you’re thinking at the time. 🙂

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