It is mid-afternoon, and all the sunflowers are facing east. The farmer says this year has been so dry, the plants conserve scarce energy by not turning to face the sun.
The same farmer is taking his parents this week to the Wisconsin State Fair to receive a Sesquicentennial Farm Award; their farm has been in the family for 150 years. Family farms still exist hereabouts. Some supplement dwindling agricultural income by offering hayrides, corn mazes, pick-your-own berry patches, off-season boat and RV storage, snowplow and landscaping services, or car detailing in an old barn.
After months of national and personal crises, many people are feeling resources stretched thin. Resilience is down. There’s a dearth of emotional vitality. What do sunflowers and family farmers model for how to keep going when we start to run dry? Conserve energy with a break from a practice you normally did. Try something new with resources you already have. Hold on to what’s essential and add or subtract around the edges.
8/9/2021 08:24:48 am
I love botany and how smart plants are. We talk to plants and crops for a good reason perhaps. I just got back from a scheduled annual retreat with writers at an inn next to a beautiful river and meadow; it's good to schedule breaks to help plant and grow energy and creativity.
8/9/2021 09:51:53 pm
What a beautiful setting for a retreat. I love workshops and gatherings that alternate group/talk time with quiet solo breaks outdoors, preferably in nature.
8/9/2021 10:09:20 am
Wonderful advice, especially for a type A personality with an overactive responsibility gene.
8/9/2021 09:57:44 pm
I could imagine the pandemic life might have been particularly challenging with those traits. Whatever we once thought we knew about balance or replenishing the spirit may not work in the same ways.
The Wisdom of Flowers. Sounds like the title of a book on meditations. Thank you for sharing the hint that sunflowers are trying to give us humans. How exciting about the Sesquicentennial Farm Award for your farmer friend. My husband's great uncle received one for his farm in Nebraska.
8/13/2021 06:47:44 am
Your husband's family has deep, deep roots in the region. Congratulations to them! Ah, the Wisdom of Flowers, great title. Further pondering their wise lessons, I am thinking they teach not only how to refrain and conserve energy, but also a different kind of wisdom in, when we can, making a practice of turning to face the sun.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.