“‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.” So wrote Christopher Bullock in 1716, and the sentiment has been repeated by Benjamin Franklin and countless others over the centuries. Indeed, one wonders if there might be a shard of four-thousand-year-old, inscribed pottery somewhere along the banks of the Nile River that, when translated, might say the same thing about death and taxes. Yes, taxes existed back in the time of the pharaohs, and probably even earlier. I can just picture the hapless cave family handing over one third of their roots, nuts, berries, and soup bones on their journey through an all-too-short life.
When it comes to my life, there are three things of which I can be absolutely certain: Death, Taxes, and Dandelions. Each of these inevitabilities can be good and bad. I’d like to think that Death is a long, long way off for me because now would be bad timing. But, I know that if the time comes when my body breaks down so badly that I don’t know who, what, or where I am, and my life is ruled by pain and dysfunction, then Death will not be my enemy. As for taxes, I have to admit that as much as I hate parting with the money, I enjoy what taxes pay for: libraries, roads, bridges, sewers, good drinking water, public gardens, basic education, parks, and so much more.
Now we come to the third certainty in my life: Dandelions. What’s good about them? When they burst forth in early bloom, as they are doing right now in my backyard, they are cheerful yellow suns in the green sky of my lawn. They symbolize spring, new life, and joy. Tra-la, tra-la.
A happy smile takes up residence on my face when these golden pioneers appear. Sadly, the smile soon wavers because my mind strays to the darker side of the plant – all those seeds that will quickly replace the flower and promptly waft into my vegetable garden, keen to take up residence in the beautifully-prepared ground. The ultimate goal for these seeds is to snuggle up against an onion or a green bean seedling to make it as difficult as possible for me to extract the dandelion without also extracting the crop plant. Thinking of this, my wavering smile transforms into a grimace.
This morning, gazing at a dandelion bloom, I wondered if it can be a coincidence that tax season and the season of first dandelions both arrive in April. I rather think not. So, if both Taxes and Dandelions strike in April, that probably means I need to be vigilant about the third certainty in the Aprils of my life. Seatbelt fastened? Check. Smoke alarm tested? Check. Vaccinations up-to-date? Check.
OK, April, bring it on. I’m ready.