Totems of Autumn

As I wrote about in the introduction to my post Crow, my son and I like to sit together on a little scrape of beach along Lake Union and do whatever. For him, it’s usually throw stones. I like to watch the water, maybe catch sight of a heron swooping in for a mournful, elegant landing. On the way to that little beach, there’s a community garden we often walk through. With fall getting late, most of the patches have been cleared, and the scare-the-crows pinwheels my son likes now spin over empty, lumpy plots. But last time we visited, I saw these sunflowers that had been left to stand and rot and just loved them. They stood in the varying light valiantly perishing, totems of autumn ready to fly away. I took a few photos and liked most the four below. I was also reminded of this passage from Herta Müller‘s The Land of Green Plums.

“A father hacks away at the summer in his garden. A child stands next to the garden bed and thinks: Father knows something about life. Because Father stashes his guilty conscience inside the damn stupid plants and hacks them down. A second ago, the child was wishing that the stupid plants could flee the hoe and live out the summer. But they can’t flee, because they don’t grow their white feathers until autumn. Only then do they learn to fly.”

9 thoughts on “Totems of Autumn

  1. Thanks, I’m glad you liked it, and thanks for the follow. I’m glad to have found your blog through Richard Guest. I love his work, and your collaborations are really interesting.

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