I was reading in Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks (London, Hamish Hamilton, 2015, p107) a couple of lines from D.H. Lawrence.
The dandelion in full flower, a little sun bristling with sun-rays on the green earth, is a non-pareil, a nonsuch. Foolish, foolish, foolish to compare it to anything else on earth. It is itself incomparable and unique.
As Macfarlane points out, Lawrence is contradicting himself by comparing the flower to the sun. We contradict ourselves all the time, and indeed we compare things all the time; it is not always destructive. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ suggests that Shakespeare saw plenty to praise in the recipient of his sonnet.
Francis set out to praise in his Canticle of the Creatures:
Praised be You, My Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
And bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
If Brother Sun bears a likeness of the Creator, and the dandelion is a little sun on the green earth, perhaps we should be out of doors on our knees more often. We may have to pull up Brother Dandelion, but we can still admire this humble, radiant flower of the field and praise its maker.
This cream coloured variant of the dandelion caught my eye near Vallorcines in French Savoy.