Gold, On a Rainy September Morning

Good lord, what a mystery this single sunflower holds — and how my creative attempts pale in comparison. This photo is a mere image — the beauty itself fell from a 10′ stalk, pecked where head joined stalk by birds. I picked it up from the grass and carried it into the house into both hands.

I first planted sunflowers many years ago, when I was a very young woman, after I admired a single enormous sunflower in a woman’s garden. The face of the sunflower was so heavy it hung down. I stood beneath this great bloom of pure gold, staring up. That sunflower’s size and beauty was improbable. How, from a single seed, from soil and water and light, did such a beauty emerge?

And yet, evidence to the contrary.

What a forest of sunflowers this year. Weeding in the garden, I hear the leaves rustling in the wind, like a canopy in a forest.

I don’t think there is any other solution than constantly coming to terms with the past, and learning from it.

—  Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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