Sunflowers For Ukraine


This isn’t the post I wanted to share today, the one I was hoping would end my writing slump — but the situation in Ukraine is occupying all of my thoughts and a frivolous post is impossible now.

Like many of you, I am deeply saddened and angered by the Russian invasion, an action that has destabilized a world that still hasn’t shaken off COVID. Quite frankly, hasn’t the world had enough? Haven’t we all had enough?

On Facebook, I’m in a group called “View From My Window.” In the past two weeks, so many people from Kyiv and other areas of Ukraine have shared their city and country window views. What they’ve shared is beautiful. What they’ve shared are their lives.

Equally touching are the comments from around the world, all expressing concern and hope and prayers.  The photos, though, have made the war more personal because these are real people with real lives. Now, I am consumed with thoughts of strangers who shared their photos — ordinary people who are, in so many ways, just like me, just like you, just like us.

In my opinion, the vast majority of people in the world want nothing more than to wake up peacefully, go to work, bring their children to playgrounds, walk their dogs, plant something on their terraces or in their gardens, enjoy a delicious meal, laugh with family and friends, watch some television, and go to sleep with thoughts that tomorrow they will be able to do the same.

They do not want war. No one wants war.

Yet, here we are. Again. It seems the decision to go to war is always made behind closed doors by people — usually men — who have nothing to lose. Those with everything to lose are the innocents in harm’s way.

It’s as journalist Walter Cronkite once said, “War itself is, of course, a form of madness. It’s hardly a civilized pursuit. It’s amazing how we spend so much time inventing devices to kill each other and so little time working on how to achieve peace.”

I’m not sure how to end this post, other than to say I recently learned the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine — and so I have filled this post with some of my sunflower photos. Some were spotted in a field, and others I’ve grown over the years.

I’ve read the sunflower was given this distinction in Ukraine because it represents power, strength, and warmth — three traits that can just as easily describe a people. Each sunflower here is a small token of support for the gardeners and all people of Ukraine.

Please, stay safe. The whole world is with you.

15 thoughts on “Sunflowers For Ukraine

  1. Your words are particularly touching and meaningful Kevin, knowing that you’ve had a Facebook group relationship with many Ukrainian friends. I’ve felt heartbroken by the stories of individuals relayed through news sources, but the sorrow is more acute when you have a relationship with people caught in such direct harm. I can get in touch with anger very easily, but most of the time I simply feel sorrow. The Ukrainian people are very brave in fighting back, and I really have nothing more to say that holds a bit of meaning. It’s just awful to think of what may yet come to pass in loss of life and freedom, and as you mention, world instability. Thanks for your beautiful sharing, Kevin, and also the significance of the sunflower. I didn’t know about its place in Ukraine. It’s a beautiful hopeful flower. I pray.

    • Hi Debra… Like so many people, I am thinking of this situation constantly. Heartbreaking. It is astounding how we never, ever learn. I feel like watching “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” the one about the alien sent to earth to observe and destroy us because we’re not worthy — and I’m rooting for the alien.

  2. Thank you for your post. Your wise words and compassion.
    I cry with Ukraine, the world and you.
    And quite selfishly I have a crushing fear that one day it will spread to my little country here in Northern Europe (Denmark). Russia is not far away.
    I didn’t know about the sunflower – now I will use it on my blog too to pay tribute to the Ukrainian people’s struggle for freedom.
    Lisbeth

    • Hello Lisbeths. I have that same fear also, especially now that the Russians have Chernobyl and in the fog of war, carelessness abounds. I am thinking of you and so many other people and places. I hope & pray that we, as a planet, can work together. As John Lennon said, “And the world will live as one.”

  3. Kevin, I am with your every word. This week I have said many times, “why not have Elon Musk give Putin a one-way ride to Mars?” This egotist launching a land grab is beyond comprehension. Yet war is madness, and indeed we have a most evil dictator in one driver’s seat. This time, lines crossed could be catastrophic for the entire planet. I hold my breath. We all have had enough trials and sadness. Diane

    • Hi Diane. I hear you… how many tears have been shed in recent years? I think we’re all exhausted and so many people just want to stop this never-ending call to war. Enough is enough. Hang in there.

    • Hi Lobster Shorts… Thank you so much for commenting. I feel that with each passing day, it’s getting more horrible. I’m worried where all of this is going.

    • Hi Cindy. Tnak you for sharing this post. Not an hour goes by when I’m not thinking of Ukraine and the millions of other refugees this world has seen over. I cannot understand how we can be so cruel to one another.

  4. Pingback: Sunflowers For Ukraine — Nitty Gritty Dirt Man | cindyricksgers

  5. Thanks for this, Kevin. In recent days, I’ve found myself thinking about what I would do if my everyday life were suddenly upended by bombs falling from the sky.

    • Hello Jean… I so agree. I am reminded of our hurricane season, when Floridians are told to stock up on supplies, test generators, etc. When a storm is tracked to hit the mainland, there’s weeks of updates as the weather & news people up the public’s anxiety… then I imagine if the storm were missiles and fighter jets and soldiers… I can’t — and I cannot understand why people would do that to people. It’s beyond cruel. Be well.

  6. I also read that sunflowers soak up/absorb toxic waste. …… While it seems peculiar, and even a bit impossible, a sunflower does not discriminate between radioactive and otherwise – oftentimes the radioactive isotope mimics the naturally-occurring nutrient. Sunflowers then pull the isotope out of the soil and into their stems and leaves, effectively cleaning the soil.Jan 12, 2021

    • Hi Bonnie. I just saw this comment… very interesting. It sounds like a dandelion, which pulls up nutrients from deep within the soil for the benefit of surface soil, on steroids.

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