Just the other day, I was in the process of buying some flowers. I love flowers of all kinds but typically gravitate to those that emit a fragrant scent. After I choose some stock and tuberoses, I was standing in the checkout line when my eyes lit upon the sunflowers that I photographed above.
When I buy flowers, I usually place them on my altar, along with a candle, photographs of family members and friends, stones and crystals, feathers, miniatures of animals and insects that have qualities that I want to emphasize and bring into my life and others things that have heartfelt significance to me. For weeks, that space had been empty, craving the beauty that flowers bring.
Seeing the sunflowers brought about a feeling of wistfulness. The thing is that in spite of the scorching temperatures that are a given in Austin, and Texas in general, Summer is my favorite season. (I grew up in hot, muggy New Orleans.) It brings with it, memories of those days long ago when, as a child, Summer brought freedom from the confines of school, play, adventure, possibility, imagination, and endless curiosity.
My sister and I would take our bikes and ride to Audubon Park where we’d soar down “Monkey Hill.” (Basically, it was simply a mountain-sized mound of dirt that drew kids from all over.) It was a beacon in lives where budgets did not include vacations. Anyway, we’d reach the top of the hill, and “fly” down with the wind rushing pass and buffeting our bodies. I was scared as hell, but the feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment was invigorating. The end of Summer signaled an end to our carefree existence and the beginning of schedules and activities imposed by the return to school.
As an adult, Summer’s significance still remains. Summer represents long, lazy days lingering in the shade, ice-cold lemonade and juicy, sweet watermelon, gathering with friends and family to bar-be-cue in the Summer heat, swaying in the hammock as I read beneath the big shade trees, the musical qualities of children squealing and laughing in the distance, and color, color everywhere.
The deep golden-yellow sunflowers epitomize Summer for me, and seeing them reminded me that it was soon coming to an end, giving way to Fall and its continuation of the cycle of life. Even though, I’ll miss Summer when it ends, I look, with anticipation, to what Fall brings.
I stood contemplating the flowers already in my hands and the sunflowers, and having done so, set about to return the stock and tuberoses to their proper places. Then, I choose a bunch of sunflowers and headed to the register, holding on to the memories of Summers past, and those yet to come. As I write this, they hold a prominent place on my altar–my tribute to Summer.