Flowers that Grin

“Sunflowers are scary,” and I don’t think I could forget those words from my creative writing teacher in community college. I’ve heard ugly, goofy, ungainly, stupid, clumsy. Scary was new.

Michael Pollan talked of tulips in his book The Botany of Desire, gave the reader a wonderful image of a child’s first garden experience, bright colored tulips like lollipops planted by small hands. Mine were sunflowers instead, yellow heads like cog wheels, tilting faces to our star.

They aren’t pretty things, stalks like hairy legs. They aren’t so frail as jasmine flowers, browning where you touch them. They aren’t like roses or peonies– hell, even carnations have a kind of elegance and poise over a sunflower. Terribly unfeminine. But that’s why I love them. The unfailing annual, like love they will grow anywhere. Hardy. Solid. They are the flowers that grin– it’s infectious.

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