Dandelion clock and old age

A logo for 90 Plus, featuring a perfect dandelion head in grass.
Logo for The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People team

The dandelion clock is a symbol for old age — extremely old age. It stars in the logo for 90 Plus, the production group behind The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People, my new play. We’re using theatre to combat ageism — and have a lot of fun.

A play production needs a logo. So I made one. Yes it’s rough and ready, but I feel a bit proud of the concept.

A dandelion grows old in front of our very eyes

Neil Bromhall made a time lapse video of dandelion flowers growing very old. It’s a ballet!

The dandelion seed head has so many subtle and positive connotations for me. Here are a few in an instant poem.

90 plus (instant poem)

The dandelion clock is ticking
90, 91, 92, 93
holding on and ticking
99 for me, 94 for you

The dandelion flower imagines
fading, shrivelling, shedding
not exploding into something 
shimmering and new

Extremely old, the dandelion
floats a little fragile
fractures with a whisper
seeds a generation
makes a wish come true 

Bring me your brains!

I’ve barely touched the surface of this comparison. Do you have memories of blowing the dandelion clock? Did a wish come true when with one breath you blew off all the seeds?

And as logo, what does the dandelion clock mean for a play called The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People? When you see the logo and the play title together, does it make sense to you?

Thank you in advance for your comments!

More about 90 Plus and The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People

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23 thoughts on “Dandelion clock and old age

  1. judibwriting says:

    I don’t think I ever called them dandelion clocks but they are still a favorite of my young grandsons and the older one’s interest in those bright yellow flowers that turned into such an entertaining past time as they age. I think it is a universal title. Wishing you the best of luck with your production and what a great video!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you thank you! Happy the dandelion games continue.

  2. My friends and I have come up with a series of radio shows dealing with aging issues. We call ourselves the Jewels of Denial and range in age 60-80. We write our own material based on personal experiences and have a blast doing it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Good to know! Thanks for telling us.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh Wow, Rachel, the dandelion image is perfection… in my opinion… and the beauty and eventual fragility and yet too, as we blow on those dandelions as kids, we know, there’s always a stubborn one that hangs in there, resilient… and your poem is just gorgeous.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You’ve reminded me of that last seed that needs three or four breaths to let go.

  4. Sadje says:

    I love this ballet like growing and scattering of dandelions. Beautiful. It seems an appropriate logo.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      So glad you see it that way, Sadje.

      1. Sadje says:


  5. margaret21 says:

    Great poem, video, and an inspired way of describing the time line of the very old.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Delighted you see it that way, Margaret.

      1. margaret21 says:

        To be honest, I don’t really. I’m a mere 75, but
        the future just seems to be a time when the choices one can make become fewer and fewer.

  6. Cathy Cade says:

    Dandelion clocks are so easily dispersed.
    But they send seeds everywhere.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      But beautiful while they are together?

  7. I think you’ve picked a perfect logo here Rachel. It is natural, complicated, yet simple, and often appears unbidden. When it does it is beautiful, entertaining, and is a joy to behold. A lot like older people!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Entertaining: yes! I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks Peter.

  8. I never thought of dandelions as “dandelion clocks.” But the poem and symbolism matches it pretty well, and I doubt I ever see a dandelion again without wondering how long before I am just a fluff in the wind!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I think there are worse fates than that one.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Another wonderful reason to add to my collection as to why I enjoy dandelions so much. The best reason is they bring out the inner child in most of us. I love the poem.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      The inner child! Perfect. Thank you.

  10. I think this is just lovely. A beautiful poem, and the thoughts of how the dandelion bursts into some sort of fireworks instead of shriveling is wonderful.
    In my Bible Study at church, there are 3 nonagenarians and 3 octogenarians. I am sixty. All my assumptions are gone now, as I listen to them.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It is so good to be mixing with those much older people and to notice their approach to life. And to think, Hmm, so I could tackle old age this way, or that way…

      1. I do kind of feel as if I am training for the big game!

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