To garden can mean to learn, to cultivate, to share and to wonder, or is that wander? Today I’m going with wander, a visit elsewhere and a chance to learn from the vision of others – this can be a lifetime of inquiry.
Today we sought out the sheer joy of Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, whose eternal optimism has blooms turning to face the sun and then following it all the way to nightfall. Might be a lesson here.
You just don’t walk up to a sunflower, you lean into the field with a smile to match its bold declaration of summer. Set against a blue and cloudy sky, well, perfection!
A great source of oil and seed for hungry birds and furred varmints, we’re enjoying seeing more of the plant in this area near Ottawa. In this case, an invite to walk through acres of nodding blooms while considering a donation to a farm that harbours animals in need of a home, was an invitation to bliss. Blue skies, acres and acres of yellow, and help for other creatures on the planet – it was perfect.
Although a week day, it was high vacation time and the distraction needs of the pandemic resulted in the parking lot being full but the expansiveness of the land gave us more than enough room to roam safely. What fun to know we could be together, apart, and enjoy a day puncuated by the giggles and laughter of children.
How will this botanic moment mark those that walked this trail and got up close with such beauty? Will yellow become a favourite colour, a seed be planted? We know the rich history of being influenced by the nature around us. Through time, artists have drawn on this botanical beauty and been inspired to inspire us! Think of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers which have brought me to tears in the middle of a museum in Amsterdam, or pause to ponder “Ah! Sunflower” by William Blake connecting life’s journey and aspiration.
Ah, Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller’s journal done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!William Blake
In this dark year with the shoulder-bending burden of pandemic concerns and hope for a return to normalcy, however defined, taking a few moments to just be is a necessity. A plant that bends to face the light – the wonder of positive phototropism – is primal behaviour to learn from and to shake a skewed perspective to rights. For now.