The fields around my studio are awash with sunflowers these days. Mammoth Mongolian giants that tower over the yard. Heirloom pale primroses that hearken back in time. Brilliant yellow flames that shine like an Aztec sun. And my favorite of all, the Mexican reds.
Mexican reds are a tiny little sunflower with a brilliant orange color. And while the larger sunflowers are certainly loved by the bumblebees, the Mexican reds are loved by everyone and everything. The monarchs spend long, languishing days drinking their nectar. The hummingbirds visit religiously every hour. The bees and native pollinators are always buzzing about. Even in the depths of winter when the world has lost its color and only the dried stalks remain, the cardinals pluck the seeds from their tiny middles.
I’ve been trying to be more aware these days, to notice the quiet moments around me. This is fuel for future creative work, I tell myself as I languish among the flowers, somehow needing to justify the experience. But really it’s current fuel for the soul. I need it. I need to remember it exists. I need to remember I exist in a wider world. In a world so unimaginably wide that I am but a speck on a speck on a speck.
But within that speck is magic – and I get to bear witness. Just the other day I watched a pair of monarchs go to bed. “I wonder where butterflies sleep?” Alan asked one evening, and right on cue they showed us, flying to a maple leaf and clinging to its tiny stem. They slept there the rest of the night, swaying in the breeze like every other leaf, invisible to everyone but us.
Yesterday the gentle breezes were replaced by a cold bite in the air, an impending sign of winter. A stern reminder that nothing stays the same, whether we want it to or not. The speck keeps turning, the winds keep blowing, monarchs migrate away, and sunflowers fade. Creative energy rises and falls – we may think we can control it, but we’re all just along for the ride.