A Very Important Question: Do You Like Butter?

By Anita Sanchez

Do you like but­ter? Inquir­ing minds want to know. For­tu­nate­ly, there is one cer­tain way to find out the truth about this impor­tant mat­ter. No, it isn’t to take a bite of bread and but­ter. It’s to hold a but­ter­cup under your chin. If the under­side of your chin glows yel­low, you def­i­nite­ly are a but­ter fan. 

Of course you like but­ter. Every­one does. At least, every­one gets a yel­low­ish reflec­tion under their chin. Only but­ter­cups will do, it doesn’t work if you use a dan­de­lion or a daisy. That’s because but­ter­cups have a shiny, almost var­nish-like cov­er­ing on their petals which reflects sun­light as effi­cient­ly as a mir­ror. This is most like­ly an adap­ta­tion to make the small but­ter­cup flow­ers more con­spic­u­ous to pass­ing pollinators.

Anoth­er ques­tion: do you know what time it is?

No need to check your phone or your watch — sim­ply pick a dan­de­lion gone to seed. Blow on it hard, three times. The num­ber of seeds left on the stalk will accu­rate­ly reveal the time of day.

And now a big ques­tion, of real impor­tance: does he/​she love me? I’ll bet you know how to find out the answer to that one: find a daisy and pluck the petals, one by one, till the last petal reveals your roman­tic fate. Since daisies, unlike most flow­ers, vary in the num­ber of petals per flower head, the answer — like life! – is always unpredictable.

You prob­a­bly know lots of these tra­di­tions — knock­ing on wood, lucky four-leaf clovers. Most of these old beliefs date back well into pre-Chris­t­ian times, passed along through the oral tra­di­tion, from grand­moth­ers, aunts and uncles telling the young’uns their lore. Old wives’ tales, we say now. But they come from that ancient world­view of plants as mag­i­cal, pow­er­ful beings, per­haps inhab­it­ed by gods or spir­its, able to con­fer bless­ings, grant wis­dom, and shield you against misfortune.

But the gen­er­a­tion that’s grow­ing up now, spend­ing ever more time indoors, doesn’t know all these impor­tant ways to answer life’s ques­tions. So I say very stub­born­ly that these triv­ial child­hood rit­u­als are extreme­ly impor­tant. More and more, nature” is some­thing that kids expe­ri­ence only on a once-a-year field trip, with stern instruc­tions to DON’T TOUCH ANY­THING. Lolling around in a mead­ow pick­ing daisies and check­ing out but­ter­cups is not a part of most kids’ reality.

And not just kids. Most of us adults aren’t sur­round­ed by leafy groves dur­ing our dai­ly work­day. The last time I want­ed to knock on wood” to deflect bad luck, I looked around and couldn’t find any­thing to knock on in the plas­tic-and-poly­ester-filled wait­ing room.

So it’s up to us to spread the word! Kids need to know these things. They need to feel relaxed in nature, to feel that it’s a place for play, for fun, for rest, for inspiration. 

No need to feel like a van­dal when you pick a few daisies or clovers, they’re non-native species. So this sum­mer, grab a kid and get out there and find some lucky clovers. Spread a few dan­de­lions seeds around . (Hey, a few more won’t mat­ter!) Find some young chins to check out for butter-love.

Summer 2018

Volume 36 , Number 3

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