Friday, August 03, 2007

Sunflower Bud

Sunflower Bud, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Saturday evening, while enjoying some fresh cooked squash from the garden with my roommates, I noticed a change in the row of sunflowers I had grown. They all had buds. I wanted to capture a decent photo of one of these buds, but in order to even get this angle I had to climb on top of a chair.

I don't know how much you know about sunflowers, but I've been trying to glean as much as I can from watching these broad leaf plants grow. These particular sunflowers can grow up to sixteen feet tall. I can recall memories of little league and mouthfuls of sunflower seeds tucked into my cheek (when I wasn't chewing rain-blo bubble gum, or, for special occasions, big league chew). My sister woudl get sunflower seeds for an after school snack too, and my first experience with these seeds was probably bumming them from my sister.

But I haven't seen too many sunflowers in my day. We had a few planted on my tribe's ceremonial grounds a few years back, but that garden didn't lend itself well to day-to-day observation. Honestly, I just remember seeing huge drooping flowers.

I planted the sunflowers in the garden this year because I thought they would look cool, and I wondered how tall they would get. I also figured they would make a cool "pole" on which some of my beans could grow.

I used to think that the sunflower got it's name because it looked like a big yellow sun when it was fully mature. But after some observations I'm beginning to see other reasons. For one, the sunflower grows taller than any other plant in the garden--so its like they are growing closer to the sun than any other plant in the garden. They shoot straight up. Their huge leaves absorb massive amounts of sunlight. And, the sunflower bud is called heliotropic. It likes the sun and the bud actually moves during the day. It points eastward in the morning, and gradually moves west as the day progresses. This photo was taken around 6.30PM on saturday, so can you guess where the sun might have been in the sky based on where the bud is pointing?

I've been learning a lot about spirituality from this garden. The sunflower has been teaching me about standing strong--it's stalk is probably 1-2 inches thick at its base. It not only firmly roots itself in the earth, but also, it keeps an intense focus on the sun. It's leaves open widely to receive whatever blessings might come from above. When I think about this flower and what it understands about survival, I am shamed in my faith. How often do I keep that kind of focus, that kind of thankfulness and supplication, those firm roots? May we all aspire demonstrate this kind of devotion to the One who makes the sun rise and who is the true sustainer of all life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My daughter brought home a sunflower in a dixie cup this spring from preschool. I thought it would be fun to let her watch it grow. I have never cared more for a flower, hoping not to break her heart. WE planted it close to the house... the gutter started to overflow, so every time it rained, I had to cover it with a bucket, then a garbage can and finally pay to have the gutters cleaned when it got to tall to protect:)

It is now ~8ft tall with several buds at the top. I wasn't sure what the bud looked like, but thanks to your picture... I am sure we are watching the bloom getting ready to occur.

Thanks for sharing your faith through this. I can't wait to pick her up from VBS today and tell her that it follows the sun during the day. How cool?