38 - Not the last of the sunflowers
I impulse-bought a single sunflower before checking out some groceries at a local farm shop at the beginning of September. When I got home, I stuck the blossom in a vase where it stayed for a month. Eventually, one night, I decided it was time I put the sunflower in the compostable waste bin, and made a procrastinatory mental note to do just that the next day. “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow” was the philosophy ingrained in me by my late father who lived steadfastly by it. It has definitely been a rule in my own life. For once, the family motto proved its worth. Compost? The sunflower had other ideas, and by the next morning, it had sprouted from a stem, where I swear there had been not so much as a bud the day before, a little dandelion of a sunflower, fresh and perfect and very very small beneath the giant parent bloom, raising a defiant little face towards me. “No compost bin for me!” it seemed to say.
The drawing above was a bit like the sunflower that inspired it. It sat around dully for almost two months, promising a future only to be torn up and put in the compost bin, until one morning this week it raised its head and looked at me and told me what it needed to give it a new lease of life. “Dum spiro spero”, an ancient Greek poet Theocritus is attributed as having said – “while there’s life, there’s hope”. Wiser words, no doubt, than those of my own family’s aforementioned motto. My determined little sunflower certainly embodied that indomitable spirit and has jostled me out of my long silence. It’s been almost six months since I posted anything here. Among other things I, like the rest of the world, have been shocked at the news of devastation and violence from the land whose national symbol is the sunflower. The trivial ramblings that had been popping from my keyboard at regular intervals have seemed inappropriate and irrelevant. But life there still is, in my defiant sunflower, and in the defiant fields of Ukraine, and so too is there hope.
My second picture, below, in the colours of the Ukraine flag, was painted as part of an effort to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee. It is a picture about journeys, about connections, and there is life and hope in there too. If anyone reading this post likes it and would like to have it, it is free to the first applicant. Just drop me a line through the contacts page of this website and I will post it to you and in return, if you feel you would like to, please just give a donation direct to an appropriate charity. It’s watercolour, oil pastel, stitch and appliqué on rag paper and is approximately 30 x 42 cm.
Breaking the ice after a long silence is something I often find hard, but hopefully I will stay in touch a bit better in future, and I hope too that you will stay in touch with me.
Who knows, I might even find you something peculiar to listen to soon, just like old times.