After a relaxing week in the mountains with my family I am home and readjusting to the rhythms of ordinary life. I’ve been back for two weeks but the difficult process of reentry continues. I find myself doing the same thing I do every year—looking at google maps and dreaming of faraway destinations. The late summer L.L. Bean and Prana catalogues arrive and I reinvent myself within their pages. Tailored plaid flannel shirts, performance pants, and eco-friendly sweaters attest to my new life as a homesteading adventurer in a wild landscape where the mountains meet the sea. I grow anxious for autumn.
Two things help with this: sunflowers and Anne of Green Gables.
Because sunflowers bloom from July – September (and sometimes early October) they remind me to treasure these summer days even as I anticipate the cool, clear weeks ahead. In Plant Spirit Totems: Connecting with the Wisdom of the Plant Kingdom, author and shaman Bloom Post writes that sunflowers are associated with key words like “devotion, light, guidance, strength, core, nurture.” They say, “Time to stand tall and be seen. Face the sun and receive what you need. Make time each day to be in devotion . . . Do not make yourself small in order to fit in with others.”
As a girl, when I was sick enough to stay home from school I would watch the 1980’s CBC version of Anne of Green Gables. Between the alluring landscape of Prince Edward Island and Anne’s unmatched enthusiasm for life, her story meant everything to me. It still does. She is the epitome of “young, scrappy, and hungry.”* She has a beautiful romance that reminds me that no one less than Gilbert Blythe** will do. She even becomes a writer. I sink back into the movies and books and now the deviating Netflix remake*** and find solace. Even with all its struggles, Anne’s world feels safe.
It feels like home.
In the opening chapter of book three, Anne of the Island, Lucy Maud Montgomery writes,
But everything in that landscape around them spoke of autumn . . . . the Lake of Shining Waters was blue — blue— blue; not the changeful blue of spring, nor the pale azure of summer, but a clear steadfast blue, as if the water were past all moods and tenses of emotion and had settled down to a tranquility unbroken by fickle dreams.
“Past all moods and tenses of emotion . . . settled down to a tranquility unbroken by fickle dreams.” I am rarely past all moods and tenses of emotions. This is why I keep sunflowers on my table and Anne in my heart. Both embody the tranquility of a moment, and the hope in dreams that are unchanging.
Well before I read Bloom’s words about sunflower medicine, I sat in journey meditation — a kind of lucid dreaming done while one is awake. In this journey I came upon a vast field of sunflowers— the variety that tower overhead. I knelt down in the wet earth and asked a question about my writing path. Hundreds of books flew up out of the petals, flapping their blank pages like butterfly wings.
“Do not make yourself small in order to fit in.” Anne never did. Why should we?
* To quote from Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Side note, Cole can sing this line.)
**”Match to my intellect; proponent of my happiness; friend of my heart. To be my life mate. Let us dance together as equal partners through the years.” This from the Netflix series. See below.
***So. Many. Thoughts. Let’s have tea and discuss.