Dixon, California, USA by Timothy Joyce

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Picture Story

Some photos tell a story. These stories can be didactic and created in the mind of the painter or photographer even before putting brush to canvas or camera to landscape.

“All walks of life” tells a miraculous story on many levels. On the simplest dimension we perceive mixed rows of beautiful golden colored sunflowers basking in the glorious spring sun. On a deeper level the photo is metaphoric and allegorical and weaved with religious symbolism.

Just like people, sunflowers go through the life cycle of birth, maturity, and death. They rely on the daily rhythms of day and night to function. There is a vast diversity of unique sunflower shapes, colors, and sizes all co-existing in harmony with a common life force binding them all together like water.

As young sunflowers, we all openly face the light and thrive in its heavenly warmth. This doesn’t last forever because life changes (people change). As the sunflowers age and mature some lose their way and choose to turn away from the light (and even each other) and face the cold empty darkness (east). Some sunflowers recover and return to the righteous path, while others are lost forever. Some build strong roots on good soil and rejoice while others reluctantly wither and die in the hot sand and sun. Sunflower fields may be subject to plagues, famine, and fire but somehow through sheer determination, faith, and hope they always find a way to survive.

The “sun-star” near the center of the photograph is reflective and symbolizes how God made each sunflower in his image. The sun may rise and fall (and times may be dark), but it always returns to the sky and is ready to provide love, warmth and sustenance to all sunflowers who are receptive. Sunflowers are all loved the same but share different journeys, experiences, and choices.

The sunflower field blooms in the spring and is harvested in the early summer. It lays fallow for a short time until a new joyful crop is born and the life cycle repeats itself. It's not surprising Van Gogh and others found sunflowers captivating. They tell us a story. We just need to listen and observe their enchanting beauty.


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