Dandelion Wine

by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury is an author I've tried to ration - to hoard his stories and novels so that I can read new ones year after year. Since reading The Martian Chronicles a long time ago, I've been attracted to the odd humanity he injects into his otherwise otherworldly novels. What I loved most about Dandelion Wine was that it exchanged the new worlds and phantom beings for a small town, all too familiar, and phantoms of a more terrestrial, pedestrian sort. It's a classic coming-of-age story, but one injected with so much humanity and insight.

A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing.

Lilacs on a bush are better than orchids. And dandelions and devil grass are better! Why? Because they bend you over and turn you away from all the people and the town for a little while and sweat you and get you down where you remember you got a nose again. And when you’re all to yourself that way, you’re really yourself for a little while; you get to thinking things through, alone. Gardening is the handiest excuse for being a philosopher. Nobody guesses, nobody accuses, nobody knows, but there you are, Plato in the peonies, Socrates force-growing his own hem-lock. A man toting a sack of blood manure across his lawn is kin to Atlas letting the world spin easy on his shoulder.

The earth shook: rat-a-tat rat-a-tat, boom! Rumble. That’s a rare word: rumble. Oh, how that mighty storm rumbled along down, up, and over the rises, and all you could see was the cloud and nothing inside.

Tom,” said Douglas, “just promise me one thing, okay?” “It’s a promise. What?” “You may be my brother and maybe I hate you sometimes, but stick around, all right?” “You mean you’ll let me follow you and the older guys when you go on hikes?” “Well … sure … even that. What I mean is, don’t go away, huh? Don’t let any cars run over you or fall off a cliff.” “I should say not! Whatta you think I am, anyway?” “’Cause if worst comes to worst, and both of us are real old—say forty or forty-five some day—we can own a gold mine out West and sit there smoking corn silk and growing beards.” “Growing beards! Boy!” “Like I say, you stick around and don’t let nothing happen.” “You can depend on me,” said Tom. “It’s not you I worry about,” said Douglas, “It’s the way God runs the world.” Tom thought about this for a moment. “He’s all right, Doug,” said Tom. “He tries.”

"After I cry hard it’s like it’s morning again and I’m starting the day over.”

RELISH! What a special name for the minced pickle sweetly crushed in its white-capped jar. The man who had named it, what a man he must have been. Roaring, stamping around, he must have tromped the joys of the world and jammed them in this jar and writ in a big hand, shouting, RELISH! For its very sound meant rolling in sweet fields with roistering chestnut mares, mouths bearded with grass, plunging your head fathoms deep in trough water so the sea poured cavernously through your head. RELISH!

Compiled 2024-04-21