Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Siren Call
Even out of focus, I think this is beautiful.
Despite the unbearable heat and low rainfall of the last two months, the Kansas sunflowers arrived on schedule. Their blossoms produce the most beautiful yellow in the light spectrum. It is an exceedingly agreeable hue, and each plant is generous producing flowers. A sunflower that attains its true genetic shape and size is a natural triumph of evolution in form and function. It is a most pleasing, graceful plant.
In full beguiling bloom, the sunflower lures men from the interstate to dusty gravel roads where the promiscuous and flagrant abundance gracefully beckons within easy reach. I drive slowly when I pass by. The men have a sheepish look as if they wish no one had seen them gathering wildflowers. A friendly wave is all the acknowledgment I can give but I understand. Men have no defense against great beauty.
Often the license plate is from out of state. I slow down to pass so they will not suffocate in the cloud of dust and so I can watch them struggle to pick a sunflower with their bare hands. Everything on the prairie is strong and tough. Whether the men are gathering flowers for the woman in their lives or simply because they want that glowing yellow for themselves, they find sunflowers do not easily give up their treasure. A sharp pocketknife would make looting far less troublesome.
One man with Connecticut plates waded into waist high grass to reach the sunflowers. I wondered if chiggers exist in Connecticut. He must have paid for his theft with a great misery, vigorously reminding him of Kansas night and day for a long, long week. Not even sunflowers are worth that.