A friend of mine asked me if I would paint her some sunflowers; those being her favorite. I had photographed these last summer on my trip to Oregon. They were an anomaly.

I went to the McKenzie river (close to, if not my favorite place in the world) and to an old farm that sits on its banks. The farm has fields of wheat, mint, soybeans, or whatever is the flavor of the year. The farm has been there a long while and the trees are all gigantic. The views of the McKenzie river valley from it give one a quiet feeling of thankfulness. So thankful, that it is almost a prayer. The grass is brown from the long days of summer, the trees are so green they are blue with the moisture that is ever present in the gentle breeze. The day I was there, was like so many from my youth: warm, clear, heavenly.

So I found this lone sunflower plant in the middle of a soybean field. None others around…just this one. I like to imagine, that the young son of this farm was out tilling the soil last spring. He was probably a baseball player and had just come home from practice. And, like most high school ball players, he fancied sucking on sunflower seeds. He was riding the tractor and spitting shells out as he went along. One errant seed made it past his lips before his teeth could shuck it, and that is how my sunflower came to be. All that, just so I could see it, photograph it, and paint it. All that, so I could give it to a friend as a gift. All that to spread love.

It seems life is like that. Regardless of how careless we are with our words and actions, deep down people are good. All it takes is the seed of kindness, niceness, or love to create a beautiful future. As we watch this world- Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries, we see the cycles of violence, anger, and hatred mix their painful cocktail of evil. But, there is another way. As the peace pilgrim stated so simply yet eloquently:

“This is the way of peace:
Overcome evil with good,
and falsehood with truth,
and hatred with love.”

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