Fiona Monks dandelion [image by Fiona Monks]

I said I would, to celebrate my 50th birthday, and so I did.

And no, I probably won't post any photos of it. When I see tattoo photos, I spend most of my time trying to figure out exactly what body part that might be or obsessing over the odd-shaped freckle near it and wondering if I might suggest the wearer get that checked out with a dermatologist.

But in lieu of photos, in answer to many questions and emails (and now that my mother has recovered from a dead faint if she is reading this), I'll explain what it is and when we meet over a latte and a wee little free trade organic spelt scone sometime, I'll be glad to show it to you if it's of interest.

Inside right forearm, to answer the most common question.

Line drawings of three dandelions, in black, like old botanical drawings.

Why three dandelions? John, Emma, and Tess.

Together, there are 37 stems in the dandelions. Why 37? It's a number that holds some meaning for me.

Why dandelions? Because when we are kids, they are magical! Pure magic! We run toward them and they delight us immensely. We even make wishes on them. And as adults, they are weeds. To remind myself to reclaim the magical in the every day, to see the world as a child as much as I possibly can. And also because dandelions represent what is ephemeral, fleeting, windblown, like life is.

Two tiny stems, pieces of dandelion, are blowing off in the wind. Why two? Daddy and Nina.

And with these questions from the Buddha, inked in my own handwriting: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?

The tattoo artist was Kitty Love at Liquid Dragon in Asheville. I loved her artistry and her passion for the arts.

Most tattoos, I realized as I sat in the tattoo place waiting, are for the benefit of the viewer, the other. They are positioned to be seen by the other person, as a display. Not this one. It is not upside down on my forearm for you to see. It is positioned for me to glance down and see it and remember all that those images and words mean to me. Like magic.

And that is my tattoo tale.