Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gift from a Squirrel

Last winter I was feeding the birds a mix of yummy seeds, mostly sunflower. I didn't see many squirrels because Parlez was on the scene, newly arrived, and keeping guard. Several months later I was out on the rebounder trampoline and I noticed a couple of sunflowers energetically sprouting out of a neglected pot. I wondered how they got there, as I hadn't planted them. And then I realized a squirrel must have stashed them for the winter where they had lain dormant and unclaimed until now.

Later in the summer as they grew and bloomed, one attracting the most amazing fluorescent green fly, I studied it and the pattern of the zillions of yellow petals. Remembering the Italian for sunflower, girasole—literally meaning to circle or follow the sun—I was transported back to dozing on a train through Tuscany and awakening at the precise moment we were running along fields and fields of sunflowers in full bloom. It was so beautiful, all that yellow warming the countryside. Now, out of my reverie, I marveled at how one seed planted by a squirrel could turn into such a beautiful flower. And that one flower could create so many more seeds to make many, many more flowers. I think of this now at harvest time, the gift of seeds.

Summer passed and I saw this one above, spent, getting ready to shed its seeds for another batch of beauties the following year. That same day I went for a walk in the arroyo. It was the chamisa's turn for center stage, the sunflowers had all gone. Or so I thought. Walking in the fall sunshine I was contemplating the quality of grace. Startled I heard what sounded like a pack of barking dogs. I looked in their direction and saw none, but instead one stellar, golden sunflower perched all alone on the edge of the arroyo. Sitting about two feet tall it looked down over to me, smiling and waving. Grace.

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