Monday, August 29, 2011

The Summer of Sunflowers

The first weekend of summer vacation was when the children and I planted the sunflower seeds. That would have been about June 13th, 2011.   I let each child drop the seeds into the holes and together we planned the sunflower bed.  We had only attempted the growing of sunflowers once before but years had passed since then.

In early summer, the temperatures were warm and getting warmer.  Rain had been scare all spring.  But as with any determined gardener, we leaned upon our optimism and forge ahead.  Early summer always brings promise.  The promise of rains and growth and bounty.

The children were excited to see the sunflower seeds sprout and week after week, they grew.  My Son marveled at how the plants were almost as tall as he was.  I told him they would be much taller than him and that in the last stages of their lives, they would present us with a prize.  Beautiful sunflowers.

We had no idea that the summer of the sunflowers would be record heat and record drought. As the temperatures increased, we increased the watering.  We watched as the plants grew taller.  A few toppled and were removed but the majority were strong and thriving.  They crowded the small corner of the garden and every day, I imagined those beautiful sunflowers.  In my mind I saw their bright yellow blooms on beds of green leaves.

Summer came and went.  Days of heat and watering.  It was a ritual and a duty My Son and I held with conviction.  As the days wore on, we grew tired of the constant watering yet we did not relent.  School started again and the watering continued.  We began to see the tops of the plants change.  I knew it would not be long before I would see the first sunflower emerge.  Perhaps only days and then the long awaited reward for diligence and care.

Battled and worn from the elements, the plants continued to grow and we continued to water.  The temperatures this week have been near 110 degrees. I thought for sure the heat would take the plants, yet they continued their life cycle.  They continued to grow and reach for the sun.  What was too hot for us was ample for them.

Today, the first sunflower is near completion.  It's petals opening a few at a time each day.  Jamie took the following pictures and I'm so glad she did as thanks to her, I will always remember this summer and those sunflowers. I will remember the hard work, the dedication, the determination and the will of the plant to overcome extreme obstacles.

And it all started with a single seed on a bright sunny day in mid June. It started with children planting dreams. Patience and love can make beautiful things happen.

Notice the ant middle left.

And this is why you never give up!  Not on a single seed, not even in a drought, not even when its too hot to be outside.  If the sunflower can survive, so can we.  And in the end, we will have wonderful memories of yellow and green and a summer that challenged us but ultimately rewarded us with stunning beauty.

1 comment:

  1. Now that, dear friend, is a sunflower.