“It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
(photograph: sunflower patch in Chicago City Park by Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)
Ode to the joyous, massive and most flamboyant sunflower…Van Gogh found the sunflower a wonderful subject–as he painted numerous images of this most obtuse flower. I think you either like sunflowers or you don’t. They are big and a bit garish for me, however I am drawn to the more demure and petite of the species. I have driven blissfully though the Italian countryside, in the summer months, only to marvel at the beautiful fields upon fields of sunflowers—a sea of endless burnt yellows accented by the pinnacle of the green cypress trees–which are about the only things taller than these huge flowers.
There is something about these huge flowers which seems to bring smiles to the faces of those who gaze upon an endless field of brilliant yellows. Even a vase filled with a few cuttings seems to bring a smile to a room. Is it because they are large and vie for attention? Is it because yellow, in small doses, seems to have a positive psychological effect on those who gaze upon objects reflecting this color? Is it because these flowers represent a mini sun— not blinding, but instead, something inviting, tangible and within our very reach?
A flower that is more of a working man’s flower—so unlike the showy rose which is elusive and coquettish. A sunflower is more real—it says, “here I am—I’m big and droopy, I’m ok with that and I live to make others happy.” It’s honest. I know what I’m getting with a sunflower—showy, big, wide, bright and sun-seeking, happiness in a flower.
Kids smile when they see a sunflower. Who can beat that? Smiles and a sense of happiness—those are nice attributes for anything to be able to evoke from just having folks simply gazing…..
On this new day to a new week, make it a point today to make someone happy—be it a smile, a nod, a hello…don’t worry so much about your own happiness..when you make others happy, you yourself will be the better for it all…..just ask the sunflower.