Just down the road a piece on West Chicken Road – a little more than a country mile (or two or three), a Bleckley County, Georgia farmer has two fields or more of sunflowers planted. You know the flowers are in bloom when you start seeing carloads of folks headed down there for a ‘photo session’ with the family or the kids.
When I thought about the popularity of sunflowers, especially around here, the words ‘colorful,’ ‘unique’ and ‘bright’ popped into my brain. Everyone is always ‘searching for their yellow,’ and well, a sunflower is an obvious choice.
My friends, Gina and Scotty, have a most unusual rainbow sunflower growing in their garden – I have seen pictures, and it is gorgeous. My mentor and family friend, Mr. Buster, has chocolate sunflowers with gray stripes, planted on his family farm. That was pretty unusual, and beautiful to see.
You probably already know the story, or history of the sunflower. It is easy to find thanks to Professor Google. But I am going to tell you anyway.
According to Greek mythology – yes, Dr. Taylor, I paid attention in Lit at UWA – Clytie, a nymph, was crushing on Apollo. Apollo thought he liked her too, but then, Leucothoe came into the picture, and Apollo was like, ‘Clytie, who?’
Well, Clytie may have been a nymph, but she got way jealous, and went and told on Leucothoe, and you know what – Leucothoe got buried alive by her dad.
Apollo had a temper and he turned Clytie into a flower.
Here is the kicker – and the creative soul in me, or the romantic loves this part – even though Apollo had turned into a flower, Clytie loved him even more so, and would spend her days as a flower, just keeping her ‘eye’ on him as he moved the sun across the sky in his golden chariot … yeah, just like sunflowers move to face the sun.
Awww. Right? Mythology always has a way of making reality bearable sometimes, huh?
But there is more to the story behind a sunflower.
The symbolism of a sunflower varies across culture – words like adoration, loyalty, long life, vitality, and harvest come into play when you dive into that meaning.
Yellow is symbolic of happiness too – hence the self-help, motivational phrase, ‘Go find your yellow.’
Did you know that a sunflower is heat and drought tolerant – well for the most part they are, which is why they typically bloom in the summer? There are health benefits also for using sunflower oil in cooking – something about improving heart health.
Mmm … Makes sense doesn’t it? Clytie’s heart was full of love, except for that moment of jealousy. We all have those fleeting moments, don’t we?
Helen Keller, though she was blind, is credited for the following quote, “Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.”
Have a great day, sweet readers! Stay safe out there! – Becky