Sunflowers, sunflowers, everywhere! The place… A small field in Yellow Springs, OH just off US Route 68. The time… Early afternoon in September. The crew… Just me and my Roadie, Angel.
Here in the Southeast portion of Ohio, around late August and early September, there is a small farm field that quickly becomes a huge tourist attraction. The reason? Sunflowers! Rows and rows of sunflowers. A veritable field of yellow heads bobbing in the breeze! The family that owns the farm, plants these sunflowers every year for the community’s enjoyment and boy, is it a well loved tradition among the locals. Photographers flock from all over to use the field as a backdrop. I must say, I was also enamored with how beautiful a site it was to see and captured a few memories for myself. Family photos, pictures of the flowers themselves, even snapshots of the pollinators that made this all possible. It all culminates into a wonderful vision that fills the soul with happiness. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature because in Her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”
Following the peak bloom, which typically lasts about 2 weeks, is a Harvest Auction. Tickets can be purchased via PayPal for this event which is comprised of both a Silent and Live Auction. Passes will run you about $50 per person. Every thing from tickets for the nearby Dayton Dragons baseball game to seed for your own yard/farm to cookware is available. I believe I also heard that they’ll be auctioning off some sunflowers seeds from this year’s crop. While I prefer to eat my sunflower seed instead of planting them (I kind of have a Black Thumb), many can’t wait to get their hands on a chance to create their own field of sunflowers.
The auction and field are sponsored by the Tecumseh Land Trust organization. These guys are all about land preservation for not just animals, but the people too. As a lover of the outdoors, I can really appreciate what they’re trying to do. Here’s a bit about them from their website:
The Tecumseh Land Trust Story
Founded in 1990 by citizens in Yellow Springs and Miami township, Tecumseh Land Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization serving Greene and Clark Counties of Ohio and surrounding areas. The purpose of Tecumseh Land Trust is to preserve agricultural land, natural areas, water resources, and historic sites, in voluntary cooperation with landowners, and to educate the public about permanent land preservation. We assist landowners in navigating state and federal easement programs, as well as, accept donated easements on farmland and natural areas. When current Projects are complete, we will have preserved over 24,000 acres in our working area.
To conserve rich fertile agricultural land; to protect the viability of agriculture Ohio’s #1 industry; to maintain a diverse environment by protecting natural habitat for plants and wildlife; to ensure that future generations have fresh clean water sources; to encourage a functioning local food economy; to preserve historical structures and sites as part of the rural and urban landscape; to educate new stewards of the land; and to save natural and agricultural land for the benefit of future generations.
Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Every year we lose so much green space to commercialization. Subdivision, roadways, big box stores… We are on a constant expansion as the American populace demands more space to “spread out”. On my last visit home, I was dumbfounded to see how much our small farming community had grown up. A 4 way stop had become an overpass with on and off ramps reminiscent of ones you see on major highways. A mom-n-pop convenience store I used to love to stop at on my way to school had been torn down to make way for a wider road. The farm I’d drive by on my way to my first job, the one that always had deer playing in the misty mornings, had been bought up and was under construction for a new housing development. While all these things are well and good, I miss the wildness of the land… The peace and tranquility of hearing birds and not car horns… Smelling flowers and not the closest fast food joint… Seeing the stars and being able to pick out constellations without light pollution obscuring the fainter specks of light. In a world of “this what you are supposed to want”, I’m over here looking and feeling like this little sunflower – Boldly declaring that I’m different.
According to the people at Tecumseh Land Trust, “Every year, millions of acres of farmland, recreational space, forests, and environmentally sensitive areas across the nation are paved over by housing developments, highways, and strip malls. Landowners interested in protecting their land have options that include perpetual land conservation agreements, land donations and bargain sales of land.”
I could easily stand on my soapbox and drone on about how we need to be paying more attention to conservation. I could preach about the sad state of air pollution, inhumane livestock practices, even the extinction of animals that once roamed these very hills. But I won’t. All I can do is share what I see, how I feel about the world around me, and hopefully inspire you to take a second look at the bounty that surrounds you. If nothing else, I encourage you to find your own Roadie and get outside so you can enjoy your own bit of Nature.
“Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein