When I was kid, there were so many things that would grant me wishes. Whether it was wishing on a shooting star, blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, or blowing off the seeds of a dandelion in summer. Closing my eyes, I would dream of something special, something I wanted to come true. I can’t remember all of my wishes, any more than I can remember all of the many times I made them, but I what I do remember is the thrill. That thrill of the possible. The idea that dreams actually do come true. Sometimes, I’d get lucky and something I requested would actually happen, but most of the time, those dreams just floated off into the wind. I didn’t worry that they didn’t come true right away. I’m sure some are still floating out there, and maybe, just maybe they’ll come true one day. Unless it was that dream of being an astronaut as I’ve grown up to have a rather cruel fear of heights. But in truth, most of the fun was simply in the wishing.
When it comes to blowing seeds off of dandelions, the goal was to strip it down to the stem in one breath. This comes from folklore, when people used it as a way to determine whether or not they were in a good relationship. Sort of like the “he loves me, he loves me not” act of picking off flower petals. This was far more efficient as if you could simply knock off all the seeds in one blow, it was deemed that you would have a passionate lover. I guess lung capacity was the real key to a good relationship in those days. If a few were left, then your lover had a few reservations about your relationship. And if there were many still clinging to the stem when you opened your eyes, well, that meant you were not loved at all or should probably stop smoking. Some believed that you could use this technique to communicate good thoughts to an absent lover by blowing the seeds in their general direction. Each little feathery seed then floats away, carrying your thoughts and dreams to that someone special.
It’s actually been years since I’ve wished on a dandelion. I still have the urge to blow all the seeds off when I see them, but that childlike urge to stop and wish has waned a bit. Part of me still wants to believe these things are truly possible. To throw ration to the wind and try to make something magical happen. It wasn’t that long ago was it? Has all that belief in magic already turned into the adult compromise called “hope”? I’d like to think that there’s still a part of me that believes dreams really do come true. Not simply wanting things to happen, but knowing that they actually will, with that same childlike certainty I had so many years ago. So, yes, you’ll occasionally still find me stopping and closing my eyes when I see that shooting star. And I will once again bend down to pluck up that feathery dandelion. So many things have to change as we get older. So many things we can’t control. But one thing is certain. I’ll never grow old enough to stop believing that it’s still worth taking a moment to pause… and make a wish.