I cannot drive past a sunflower field without stopping. Mother Teresa said it best. “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Every year I plant my own little patch of sunflowers – many different varieties. Sometimes the chipmunks eat my seeds before they sprout and sometimes the weather isn’t conducive to growing huge sunflowers- sometimes I’m lucky and sometimes I’m not. I always hope that the farmer down the road plants fields of sunflowers and every few years he does. Boo! for crop rotation and boring feed corn! Yay! For sunflower fields that go on forever! This year I got lucky!
We all know how time flies, so, before long, this world of mine, of ours, here in Upstate NY, is going to turn to white and grey. If we are honest, and don’t like to ski, those two colors will last longer than we would really like them to. There is something about color, even if there isn’t any sunshine, that just makes my heart sing. It is well studied that colors effect our mood and even our physical reactions. For example, red increases heart rate and blue decreases heart rate. So, for now, until the colors of late summer and fall turn into white and grey, I’m going to soak up all of the color I possibly can. If I can help it, I will never let another year go by without planting a cutting garden. The colors are just spectacular.
This year I grew a cutting garden. Over 20 years ago when I lived in Maine, there was a small flower stand on the side of the road that wound through the Scarborough marshes. Everytime I passed by and sometimes when I would purposely drive out there, I would buy a boquet of flowers. I loved them. This is what inspired my own cutting garden 20+ years later. In my cutting garden I grew cornflowers of all colors, zinnias, Dahlias, baby’s breath, cosmos and Teddy Bear Sunflowers. The sunflowers are so fuzzy and small.
So I spent the gorgeous 64 degree morning in the sunflower field with a gazillion bumble bees fighting each other for pollen – my jeans are covered in it so there really is plenty to go around – but at least it kept them occupied and ignoring me! Some people paid the farmer to pick some for a wedding today – how amazing is that going to be?! When the farmer stopped by I thanked him for planting beauty and he probably thought I was silly because to him it’s just an organic crop of seeds that he will sell. He rotates his crop so he planted this year on the land next door to his and the man who owns the property gets to cut and sell some sunflowers from his driveway – today I will be buying a bunch – he was very careful about which ones to pick to ensure they will last a while. I chased an elusive monarch slowly through the field to capture a photo – and eventually just stood still and prayed and he came back to me and I did get that beautiful photo which I have to upload from my camera. I think it just may be my favorite photo of all time. Thank you Pete, the farmer, for planting beauty.