Sunday, July 10, 2011


The french name for sunflowers is tournesol. This means turning with the sun.
This idea has given our daily walks a new purpose, to see if those enormous sunny heads do indeed turn. 

We take an hour walk every day. Usually in the evenings and usually a walk we have titled the Ridge Walk. We climb the steep sidewalk out of the river valley and arrive on the slopes that lead to the crest that run the length of the valley. Once on this crest it feels as if one can see for ever and that there is no separation between you and the end of the skies. The enormous sky is often full of billowing clouds or rays of sun descending to the ground with rain drops in them, always off in the distance. This year these skies have been gloriously and dangerously blue. We have had no rain since March and the land is baking. Somehow the sunflowers are thriving in spite of these arid time.
Fields and fields of these beautiful flowers surround us.

We usually take our walks in the evening walking towards the east with the western sunset at our backs. This would mean that all the sunflower faces would be facing west. They are not. Each and everyone of them is facing towards the east. 
With temperatures in the the high 80’s by late afternoon, I decided to take the walk in reverse the other morning. I headed off into the eastern sun for a few minutes and then along the grand sweep of the ridge to head towards the west. 

The sunflowers are goosebumps magnificent. Sweeping down the sides of the hills. Extending on and on and on. At some points there are sunflowers on both sides of the roads and it seems I might be heading to Oz. Again each and every head was facing towards the east.

Our verdict is that as romantic as tournesol sounds these enourmous giants could no more turn their heads if they wanted to. However-- the other night we were walking along and Tom exclaimed, “Oh look they’re in love.”  And sure enough, out of the hundreds of thousands of sunflowers we’ve seen, one was actually facing west!  This rebelious one was embracing another sunflower. Leaf to leave, petal to petal. 

Funny what one sees on these daily walks. No turning with the sun, but a little love.


Anonymous said...

Golly, not too many years ago I always planted sunflowers for my children's sake and for the birds. I live in Colorado in the Rockies. My sunflowers ALWAYS turned with the sun. What can be the reason in France for why they don't do that?
I even explain this to the children in school, that they are called "mirasol," or "girasol" in Spanish because they do just that, turn with the suns progress across the arc of the sky. That's a mystery.

Adriana said...

The sunflowers look glorious! Will there be any in the fields if we visit the third week in August?

Jenny Wilson said...

Lovely photos !