Sunflower Lesson

Everything in nature can teach us a lesson…or remind us of one that we’ve temporarily forgotten. Sunflowers, for instance, have reminded me that nothing happens before its (as in possessive sense for those of you who might be correcting my pronouns) time and that you just have to trust the process.

I planted sunflower seeds a couple of months ago and have been checking my little flower bed for signs of their mammoth beauty every day since.  At first, I thought they were weeds, and my husband concurred. Still, they didn’t look quite look like our numerous other weeds so we left them alone. Soon, they grew taller and taller, and before long, we could see that indeed these were sunflower plants. Within a couple of weeks (no exaggeration), they went from being about two feet tall to being two feet ABOVE the window ledge.

Yet, there was a problem of sorts. No flowers. I could tell that something was about to happen because I could see some thin yellow strips deep within the green head at the top of the plant. Everyday it opened just a little more, and the yellow strips got wider, but nothing else happened. Then Saturday, I walked out and Voila…there was a flower. It wasn’t open, meaning that the yellow petals were still tight against the plant head, but I see could evidence of an emerging flower; it was awesome.

Last night a quick peek at the progress of the emerging petals both surprised and pleased us. Within the course of a day, more than half of the petals had turned out, and the flower actually looked like a sunflower, a big one.  Impatient me, I wanted to see the whole thing opened up, so I touched a petal and gently tugged on it. Nothing happened. There was no prizing that pretty petal outwards until it was ready. I could’ve pulled harder, but my efforts would no doubt have resulted in a torn petal.

This morning before leaving work, I took a quick glance at my tall friends, and two of them were fully opened. I laughed aloud. It was almost as if they were kidding around with me. The sun wasn’t even that bright yet, and yet there they were: yellow and full and beautiful indeed.

I’m still incredulous at these miraculous flowers. Just like us, when the time is ready, they bloom. Water, fertilizer, and gentle coaxing might help, but they develop on their own time schedule, not ours. Pushing, pulling, and forcing don’t work for sunflowers, and they don’t work for people either.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

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