For the longest time, it looked like nothing at all, this art installation of 10,000 sunflowers where route 195 once polluted the soil.
Adam E. Anderson, the brains behind the community-building project, writes on his website, “Ten Thousand Suns is a summer-long botanical performance in which over 10,000 sunflower seeds have been planted and being nurtured over the course of the summer months, on land that until recently sat under a highway, with high compaction, low-organic material, and embedded with toxicity. …
“Rather than using high maintenance and energy intensive large swaths of turf grass, the installation uses the bio-accumulating (removes toxins) and habitat creating properties of Helioanthus (aka, Sunflower) planted in rows in a series of large circles, leaving paths in-between for intimate exploration.
“The project will create a spontaneous and unique cultural identity for the citizens of Providence and its visitors during the summer months.”
With little rain all summer, the project looked like a hopeless cause for many weeks. Until it didn’t.
In celebration of the cheery results, I want to share a few lines of a poem about a goldfinch loving a sunflower. Because who wouldn’t love a sunflower?
From poet Ross Gay‘s “Wedding Poem”
Friends I am here modestly to report
seeing in an orchard
in my town
a goldfinch kissing
again and again
dangling upside down
by its tiny claws
steadying itself by snapping open
like an old-timey fan
again and again
until swooning, it tumbled off
and swooped back to the very same perch …