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My Saturday Stopover today is
Garden Songs: Sunflowers
A Thoughtful personal essay from Lynda…
Saturday Stopover Spotlight
Garden Songs: Sunflowers
I brought home three sunflower plants from the local nursery in late spring and planted them along the old wood fence.
Each time I look at them, it brings happy thoughts of my childhood summer in Pennsylvania.
“You make mowing the lawn very difficult for me because you keep planting flowers everywhere I don’t expect to find them,” my father complained one day. Dad planted the vegetable garden every year. I planted seeds of every kind in random places.
But the flower I vividly remember is the sunflowers. The sunflowers of my youth towered over me, and they had large, saffron yellow flowers.
In memories, I also see perky yellow finches that came to eat the seeds when they ripened. Yellow birds hover over the black centers of the sunflowers of my childhood memories.
Little yellow birds and the tall sunflowers seemed to dance in the sky, unlike any other flowers that I remember.
On solitary days in my home in western Pennsylvania, I often reflect on those moments when I encounter unspeakable beauty in a flower, tree, or landscape. Such discoveries become the themes in poems, stories and my fiber art works.
One summer in Austria, I was walking on the pathway from the Alpine village of Anif to the farm village of Grödig. Midway on this afternoon journey, I paused and gazed out over a vast distance beyond the sunflower fields. I always stopped here for a few minutes to take in the misty landscape in the far distance.
Every so often, there is a wooden bench beside the path. When I got tired, I took off my backpack, and I rested or took a nap for a while. After I was refreshed, I continued on my journey. I knew this countryside was safe and I felt comforted by the summer sunshine and sounds of birds flying over the fertile fields.
At the edge of the footpath, I paused beside the sunflower field to survey this delightful surprise. Here, I saw a small metal box with a slit in the top. The box had no lock on it. Nearby, I saw a pair of scissors and a hand-written sign with instructions. The sign indicated that a passer-by could cut some sunflowers and leave their money in the metal box. The price of each flower was displayed on the sign. The box remained unlocked so you could take change if you did not have the right coins. It is the honor system that I found in numerous places in the villages and farms. Other items such as milk and eggs could be purchased on the honor system by anyone passing by.
I cut a bouquet to take home for Anna and Frau Ziegler, the 2 ladies I stayed with each summer in Austria. Then, I left the appropriate coins in the metal box and walked on down the path towards Grödig. I was giddy with delight as I thought about delivering the sunflower bouquets.
When I see sunflowers, I experience a flash of my own memory of a sunny afternoon. I feel the heft of those big heads of shimmering black seeds surrounded by brilliant saffron petals that flutter in the breeze. My bare hands recall the feeling of rough, hairy stems.
Visit the Second Mountain in Pennsylvania to see the Sunflowers.
Have YOU ever planted sunflowers in your garden?
Do you have any memories associated with Sunflowers?
Tell me your story, please.
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