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Read an excerpt from
Planting Dandelions

Pittman's voice is like that of a close girlfriend: warm, funny, conspiratorial, and up for talking about anything.

?Publishers Weekly


The house with all the dandelions in the yard, and the grass that needs cutting?

That?s mine.

Notice how the front door is charmingly accented by a dead marigold plant in a colorful pot, and the porch light is still on at three in the afternoon? And the band of boys you see running by, barefoot? The flash of brown and gold?

Those are mine too.

There they go, over the back fence, into the no-man?s land formed by the untended strip between our neighbor?s yard and ours. They love that place; the touch of wild that is allowed to remain.

I like that too.

Welcome to my semi-domesticated life. Where it is possible to love my kids with every breath in my body, but still take six weeks to change a lightbulb over the table where they do homework. Where I can?t coordinate soccer practice times, but I can somehow manage to run out of clean clothes and groceries, with cosmic precision, on exactly the same morning. These failings aren?t points of pride. I wouldn?t mind having live container plants, or lightbulbs that go on and off at the appropriate times.

But I don?t mind the dandelions. They are old friends.

Growing up in the 70s, our yard was full of them. My parents called them wildflowers. The neighbors called them weeds. But to me, they were much prettier than the plain green grass that carpeted the rest of the neighborhood. What other flower could you make wishes upon, like they were birthday candles or the evening star? The number of dandelion wishes I made as a kid could keep the lawn chemical industry going into perpetuity. Maybe some of them wound up here, taking root beside me in this patch of suburban earth, so many miles from the place I started. So unlike anything I had planned or expected.

I don?t live in the country I thought I would. I?m not married to the guy I thought was perfect for me. I don?t have the daughters I just knew I would have. I don?t have the job, the house, the bank account or the lawn I ordered. And when I find out who?s been in charge of this whole fiasco, I?ve got some choice words to say about it:

Thank God.

Because being delivered from our own meticulous plans might be the very definition of grace, as I understand it. You can make yourself crazy trying to cultivate all the life out of living, or you can welcome the parts that are untidy and untamed, the gift of dandelions. Persistent, ordinary, and?to me?beautiful. Roots that go deep, and seeds that fly. You?ve got to allow for a touch of wild. Some of us even have enough of it to blow over the fence, and share.



August 2010

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