Honestly, the Mammoth Sunflowers have been the delight of late summer. I have watched them carefully each day. I have tended to them through emergencies, and taken too many pictures.
But my sunflowers have done more than bring a smile to my face; they have taught me three important lessons this season. And here they are:
1) Time can heal even the most traumatic of experiences. I have written this before, but I think it bears repeating. Just as my sunflowers were getting to be quite substantial, with stalks of about 3/4 inch, and perhaps 5 feet tall, they began falling over, and breaking in two. (Ask me how that came about another time - but it was all my fault!) Literally the heads were on the ground, and the stalks were almost separated from themselves in the break. But I put them back together, taped and staked them, and they healed. They continued to grow straight and tall, 12 - 13 feet, and bloomed into these gorgeous sunflower heads with thousands of seeds. The metaphor is so clear. When in crisis, accept help, and persist. That's what my sunflowers did.
2) Tiny things can grow into spectacular things. The sunflower seed is no bigger than 1/2 inch. The size of a fingernail. But look what it becomes! Small humans grow into beautiful human beings. And seeds even smaller than the sunflower (think of the Giant Sequoia) can grow to be the largest living things in the world. It's hard to fathom. For me the lesson here is two fold. First, take care of tiny things. Despite their size, they will one day make a difference. And second, enjoy the journey. Watching the tiny seeds grow into these sunflower behemoths surprised me every day. I never lost my joy at the sight of them. Just as with my children, who are now adults having children of their own. Every day a delight. Grown from the tiniest of things.
3) Last, the sunflower was the boldest, most outrageous thing in the garden this season. Always sprouting higher, pointing in exactly the wrong direction for the garden, and when mature, bending way over because of the weight of the seeds in the bloom - looking quite crazy. This was the natural course of events for the sunflower. It was born to be bold, tall, crazy. Be who you were born to be. It will bring to joy to others, I promise.
Next year, more sunflowers! More joy!