Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Darren Milam
Friday, May 29, 2020

If you are in the Puget Sound area, you know this time of the year – and specifically on sunny days – the sky can be filled with “snow.” Actually, it’s not the cold white stuff, it’s the warm fluffy white stuff from the cottonwood trees (genus – Populus). During this time it can look like a blizzard, when the trees are “blooming.” In fact what we see in the air, floating and flying by, are the seeds and seed hairs, as this is the way the tree can spread the seeds around the local area. Cottonwoods are part of the family of hardwoods, but in actuality the wood is quite soft. This means the trees are quite hardy, as it allows them to be exceptionally tolerant to flooding, wind, and erosion.

The image I have is NOT of a cottonwood, nor the seeds or seed hairs. No, this image is of the common dandelion (genus – Taraxacum officinale). So why did I use a dandelion flower/weed when I was describing cottonwoods? Simple – the spreading of their seeds happens the same way – floating in the air, carrying across a field or forest, hoping to land on good soil and grow. I can assume at some point in your life, you’ve plucked a white balled seedhead and given a big puff, just to watch all those little seeds whisk away on their tiny little seed umbrellas. It’s entertaining but I’d prefer it not o happen in my lawn 🙂

When we read in Mark, we can see Jesus asking us to something very similar to blowing on the seedhead. In fact this isn’t’ about entertainment but a call to action – and privilege.

Mark 16:15 – “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

In context, Jesus was speaking directly to His disciples, telling them what their duties were now that He was returning to be with His Father. We also know, we are His modern day disciples and we are being asked to do the same – spread the Gospel. Share the Good News. When we do that, we get to see how the wind (Holy Spirit) spreads it and allows it to land on “good soil” and watch it grow.

So, the next time you are caught in a cottonwood “snowstorm,” or you are picking up a dandelion and ready to puff those seeds – imagine all those seeds are bits and pieces of the Good News we are spreading for Jesus.