Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ear, Ear, Vincent

When we were touring Provence (which is in France you know), we saw loads of fields full of sunflowers. I've taken many photos of sunflowers on my travels and although I'm not sure why, they have a strange effect on me.

Many people like the idea of them tracking the sun which I think gives them an almost living attribute. Yes, yes I know they ARE living in a brainless flowery sort of way but you know what I mean. We like to think of them getting up every morning, having a look for the sun and then following it all day long. God help them in Britain then !

It's not a bad life I suppose and on beaches all over the world, many humans do the same sort of thing but don't look as pretty.

Sadly the whole sun tracking thingy is all a bit of a misconception as sunflowers don't really track the sun at all. Shocker, I know.

To be fair, the leaves and buds of young sunflowers do start off the day facing east and move to the west as the day progresses. But mature sunflowers simply face east and don't move.

When I pass a field full of 'dead' sunflowers, the sight makes me feel so sad. They still stand incredibly tall but their heads are dull, drooping and lifeless. So different from the vibrant, colourful heads they once presented to the world.

What we found in many fields was a mix of both, a majority of dead heads with a few still hanging in there, so to speak. A few proud survivors who for a few more days were saying to the passers by........." hey I'm still here. Bloody well look at me. "

On our 5th day on the France & Spain Tour 2011, we visited the 12th century Senanque Abbey near Gordes in Provence. The Cistercian monks who live there, grow and sell lavender and honey products and with a thriving gift shop, don't need to charge entry to the grounds and abbey.

It wasn't lavender season when we were there but a quick wander around the gift shop left us in little doubt what the smell would've been like outside when it was in season. Thankfully I love 'processed' lavender although the smell of the actual flowers doesn't thrill me. Go figure.

Anyway in the small courtyard in front of the abbey stood a lone mature sunflower and in the dazzling morning sunshine, its colours were stunning. I was reminded once again of the painting of sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh and how dull and drab he'd managed to make them appear. Maybe his vase full had passed their prime and were 'on the way out' but wouldn't you have thought he'd have replaced them with some fresh ones ?

Art eh. What do I know !

I still prefer my sunflower (sorry monks but I'm claiming it) and best of all, it's about $40m cheaper !!

And for Brits of a certain age, don't you now find yourselves saying "weeeeeeeeeed."

Sure you do.

Flobalob !


Daphne said...

Sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers because they look so cheery, and I associate them with summer sunshine. Perhaps Van Gogh's paint has faded. Or perhaps he wished he had a camera. I prefer your sunflower too.

rhymeswithplague said...

I have never really looked at sunflowers close up, but I didn't know they had an orange halo ring thingy. Do all sunflowers have that or was this one a less-common variety? Or maybe it was just especially blessed because it grew in front of the abbey...

Milo said...

Love sunflowers but don't recall when I last saw one.

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