At first we were in the darkness, buried in a 40# yellow and red plastic seed bag in the shed. Then we saw daylight when we were poured into a bird feeder. “Here they come! Here they come!” we seeds whispered to each other as the birds landed nearby. Some were eager to be chosen by the cardinals, nuthatchers, chickadees and woodpeckers.
But not us! We hid until she found us sitting near the tray of the feeder, just inside the mesh. We knew we had better things to do than become a chunk of food to be pecked, opened, and swallowed into some bird’s belly.
Our job was more important. We will sprout. We will grow. We will produce more seeds from our tiny black shells. But before that, we will bring happiness and beauty to the occupants of this site and the many passersby.
She carefully chose us and then laid us gently on the moist, fertile black soil inside the round clay colored pot sitting on her deck. I heard her say, “Maybe I will have better luck here,” as she put a soft layer of that dirt overtop of us. She marked our resting spots so she knew where we were. Each day she looked for us to pop our little heads. One day we surprised her. A couple at a time, we pushed through the dirt, our little green seedlings still not open but now above ground. She watched as we grew taller and larger and pushed open the seedling to become a real plant. We were on our way to something better. We were watered, talked to and touched until we were strong enough to be moved.
She chose a sunny spot for us in front of her campsite, near a pole that says “73” and “Volunteer Camp Host”. She had more of that beautiful black soil ready for us with a border made from pretty little rocks she had handpicked. We had our own bed now that we shared with other pretty flowers but when the beauty contest is over, we plan to win.
As we grew, she attached our hairy stems to bamboo stakes tying the green tape between our coarse leaves to help us grow straight and tall. Our buds turned into petals that bloomed into yellow globes of sunshine. In the center of our petty yellow head is the eyeball of our bloom which has spirals of florets. For now, we stand with our heads slightly bowed, admired and appreciated. We have brought happiness to the campsite occupants. People who are passing this site stop to look at us and see how tall we have grown. We are the only sunflowers in the campground. We are special.
Our work is not done. We will produce seeds from the florets in the eye of our flower and then the birds will come to us. We will not be that one seed in the feeder that they grab, but we will have many fresh, moist seeds upon us for them to choose from. Their choices will be many and they can come as they want until we have been picked over. Hopefully, some of our seeds will drop to the ground and sprout again next year, so we can again, bring more happiness and beauty and food.