24 February 2013
Three sunflowers are growing in my hosts’ front garden. None of them has flowered yet; they appear to have concentrated all their energies on growing leaves, and making sure that their stem is thick enough to withstand the strong winds that have been blowing here virtually every day since I arrived on the 1st of February.
“They are very special sunflowers,” Reggie confided in me one day, as she was tenderly watering the young plants.
“They come from a Buddhist retreat and meditation centre called the Tara Rokpa Centre in the Groot Marico area,” she told me. “That’s in the North-West Province of South Africa. We went there in January last year for a weekend meeting. It was the first time I had been to that part of the world. They had a lovely vegetable garden, with a cluster of sunflowers, so we picked up a couple of seeds and kept them until summer. Of the six seeds we planted, only these three have survived the caterpillars and the snails.”
“That is lucky!”
“Yes, it is! We hope that we’ll get some new seeds when these ones flower, so that we can have a few more sunflowers next season.”
Reggie was preparing breakfast for us early on Sunday morning, when she suddenly exclaimed, “Flat Kathy! Richard! Look! The one sunflower is starting to open!”
We rushed out immediately to admire the first sunflower in the garden doing a cheerful salute to the early morning sun. The other two are still a bit shy, but we will continue to water them and to talk to them nicely, and perhaps they too will welcome the warmth of the sun soon.