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Bee juice or lawn blight?

One person's burning bloodshot eyes and debilitating sinus headache is another person's best fishing day ever. 

Poplar fluff. It's like Christmas in June. Anyone with seasonal allergies hates when the fuzzy little spores blow off the poplar trees and float across the landscape like a cotton-ball blizzard. But the walleye love it — as do the people who love to catch the walleye.

One man's treasure is another man's trash. And while we like to complain most about those polar opposite viewpoints when they are in the political world, they're all around us in the simplest of life's events. Perhaps if we learn on the simple ones, it would be easier to find compromises, or at least understanding, of the bigger ones. 

Start with poplar fuzz and move to the next one — Dandelions.

Uh-oh. Did you hear that? It was an audible rip as the readership split into different segments. The lovers and the haters of the bright yellow weed. Perhaps this might be too much of an advancement over the understanding of allergies and good fishing.

Personally, I don't like dandelions. I prefer a green greenspace — whether its my own yard, a local park, the front lawn of an apartment block, or the boulevard in front of downtown businesses —  it just looks nicer when there's no yellow weeds poking up. Others, however — as we found out in the Lac La Biche newsroom last week — don't see it that way. We were bombarded with comments to save the weeds when we posted an image of someone (gasp!) mowing a yard full of dandelions.The bees, the pollen, the edibility (is that a word? Spell check says so ) of the little yellow petals ... and the responses were emotional. Just look at this example:

"The lengthy roots of dandelions are excellent soil aerators that help loosen up compacted soil! The presence of dandelions also alert you to potential problems with your soil, such as infertility! There are also countless recipes!"

or this one:

"That yellow blanket is what is feeding our bees! Leave it alone, till they are done blooming!"

Did you notice all the exclamation marks? There's six exclamations ... and only five sentences.  These folks are seriously into dandelions.

And it's great to see. I am still a dandelion destroyer, but I now appreciate the passion of the other viewpoint ... and their reasons might even convince me to leave the next dandelion patch to grow for a little longer. While I may not attack the yellow weeds with such vigor in the future, I hope those on the other side can appreciate that not everyone sees a happy bee or a sweet, yellow drink when they see a weed in their front yard.

All too often the examples of how different we are as humans, as cultures and as thinkers are based on big-ticket items like political leanings, social standing, and generational beliefs. They make for pretty deep lines in the sand. What we need are more of the dandelion debates or the poplar fluff talks to soften down what can often quickly become a sad and militant war of opinions. 

We're all different, we see things differently — weeds or bee juice, sneeze-makers or fish-finders — and there's so much out there to see and discuss. 

So if you're nose isn't completely plugged from seasonal fluff allergies, and you can find one that isn't a weed, take time to look around and smell the flowers.

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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