Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Deadly Sunflowers

Sunflowers at the Etsell farm, 1974
These sunflowers grew near the house of my maternal grandparents. For the duration of one visit sometime in the early 1970s, they terrified me. When I went outside to play and first spotted the flowers, my vivid imagination made it seem as though the flowerheads were tracking me, swivelling to follow my every movement. I was afraid that the flowers could shoot the seeds like deadly missiles, perforating me with hard black shrapnel. My dreams that first night were even worse; I couldn't run away, and the flowers towered over me, lowering their heads to shoot me from point-blank range. Some of them lived up to their name, shooting solar death rays from their faces to incinerate me.

Fortunately, once I grew brave enough to admit that the flowers scared me, my parents (or perhaps it was my grandparents) allowed me to harvest one of the ripe heads. I could barely lift the flowerhead; it had the same diameter as a large serving tray, and was several centimetres thick. I sat down on the grass and spent the afternoon plucking out seeds, shelling them, and snacking on them as I enjoyed the sunshine and watched the tall grass sway gently in the soft summer wind.

That was a good day.

2 comments:

Totty said...

I was imagining something a little more like "Day of the Triffids" crossed with TOS episode "This Side of Paradise".

And yes, I had to look up the title.

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

You beat me to it Totty, I was thinking the exact same thing!

Plus, those heads *do* move; they swivel as they track the sun. This is not normal plant behaviour, and some part of you recognized that!

And a part of you still does...