The Sunflowers

Sure, every flower, every tree, every bush has its protective spirit. All the really pretty things get their individual, terribly specialized treatment. You want to be the real queen of the garden? Get yourself assigned to a black rose. You just dont get any higher than that, not in our hierarchy. After that, violets. Ladyfingers, jack-in-the-pupits, pansies, a few others on the next tier. Then you get the flowering shrubs, then the various trees – which have their own hierarchy – then the non-flowering shrubs.
Then you get the weeds.
That’s where I come in.
I protect the flowers that everyone else calls weeds: the stuff that doesnt have the pretty stems or the nice smell or the lovely colours of springtime. No, mine’s the stuff that most folks consider an annoyance to be cut down so they can make way for, you know, the important stuff, like begonias or tulips.
Tulips. Pfft. Dont get me started on those pretenders.
Sure, when I was younger, I wanted the rose assignment. But I knew, just like everyone else in this game, that (1) I didnt have the right connections and (2) I damn sure didnt have the talent. So I bided my time, did an internship with a few birch trees and a small oak —
— and then I noticed the sunflowers.
Not the prettiest thing on the planet by a long stretch. Smells awful. Has a stem about as pretty as one’s Aunt Martha. And as such, no one wanted them. Couldnt give the assignment away. But something told me that I should do it.
My friends in the biz all said I was crazy. But with no competition, I found I could take over the whole field and no one would care. Then I expanded out, into daisies and crepe myrtle and a few others. I nutured them as carefully as the Level 1 guys do their Princess Anne daffodils. And the flowers, so desperate for attention and care, responded. The sunflowers went from dingy little stumps to eyes that follow the path of the sun all day long. Daisies… well, now, thanks to me, nothing says young love better than a handful of daisies. And you cant travel anywhere in the Southwest without seeing fields of Indian Paintbrush; I think those might be my second highest achievement.
But it’s the sunflowers I love the most.

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