Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tournesols


We stopped at the side of the road, shocked by yellow. A full field of sunflowers, turning their large, open faces to the sun. Tournesols in French. My friend, D., and I jumped out of the car, went to stand at the edge of the field, and had our pictures taken. Saturated color: gold and cyan behind and above us. Kodachrome tribute. But even in black and white the shots are impressive, the flowers big as our own heads, a field of dark eyes glistening. Before France, I had never seen a vibrant field of growing sunflowers, only their kin, turning up sometimes in a florist's shop or else in the farmer's market. Bringing them home, there was never a vase large enough or heavy enough to hold them; their long, thick stalks had to be cut with knives. The flower heads would bow toward the table, stooped under the weight of their cheerful petal halos and spiky, mane-like leaves. Across the street from the house purchased jointly in name (post about that here), there are also fields like the one described above: vast, undulating fields of sunflowers, which I thought might not be wild but rather cultivated for seeds, oil, or for the marché aux fleurs. Rumor has it the fields will be plowed under before long—that some batch of government housing will be built on the lot, the sunflowers gone. It's painful to think of their loss. It hurts especially since there seem to be not enough flowers in the world, not enough sunny dispositions, and altogether too much of everything else.

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