I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again. Last year we were blessed with a four-week sabbatical in Morocco and Spain. Four weeks of family time. Four weeks of family dinners (my favorite part). Four weeks of beauty and sights and too many cathedrals (if you ask my son).
It gave me memories that will last forever, even though they’ve started to fade in their intensity. These days I sometimes focus on them intentionally, to keep them as alive as I can.
Why is it that sights and sounds and experiences feel, in the moment, like you’ll never forget them? And then they get looser and blurrier with time, and you have to turn to someone who was with you then and ask, “did we really see that, or did I imagine it?”
A memory I swore I’d always have is the fields of sunflowers. We were driving a highway in the south of Spain, on our way from Granada to Sevilla. We were surrounded by fields of sunflowers as far as we could see in every direction. My kids were in the back seat, sharing earphones and listening to music, and I stared out the window at the fields and fields of sunflowers.
Were they raising the sunflowers for the seeds? Or for the flowers themselves? Had we stumbled upon the sunflower capital of the world? I never guessed that sunflowers were raised in southern Spain. I never thought to guess.
What makes sunflowers so special anyway? It could be because they’re my husband’s favorite flower, but it’s more than that. They’re tall. They’re stately. They’re beautiful. They follow the sun. And fields and fields and fields of them, as far as the eye could see, inspired and moved me.
Another moment of a beauty caught off the side of the road. Another opportunity to witness the wonder of life in our world. Another gift to acknowledge and accept and appreciate.
That breathtaking field of sunflowers – another memory to actively hold onto. To remember. To enjoy.
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