Patricia Dischino, Brunswick Forest


‘Six months since Carl died. Twenty years plus since our parents left this world. I am the only keeper of the flame. When I go, and that will be sooner than later, with my heart problems, it is as if we never existed. Dear Carl and I never were able to have children and I could care less about Brenda and Lyle, my dear long gone sister’s children

These were musings spending time in Danielia’s thoughts as she took her usual walk through familiar paths to pick up a few items from the town’s one store that was a throwback from the past, a true variety shop.

As she passed an old stone house where flowers abounded in a small area at the side of the building, a memory from her childhood emerged, poignant, powerful and yet intensely sad. Tall sunflowers stroked recollections of her mother’s garden in a far-off land.

Her mother called them guardians. They protected the tiny flowers that surrounded them.

That country no longer grew flowers. A cruel and terrorizing neighboring government leveled their land. The yellow color reminded Danielia of that country’s tattered flag. The small village she called home had a population originally from that far-off shattered country.

‘I’m going to buy sunflower seeds and plant them in my garden. She entered the store with an inspired mission,

Jane Courter, the owner, was handling the cash register as Danielia approached. The two had been friends for years. “Jane, my grandmother talked about the sunflowers in their old homeland. I am going to plant seeds in honor of our ancestors’ troubled country. It’s just a small gesture.”

“Wait one minute. Danny. I’ll be back in a minute.” Jane returned with two boxes filled with packets of sunflower seeds.

“Take these. Use what you want and give them to anyone who would like them. They grow so fast, but the time to plant them is nearly over. I will have my son, Jim, drop them off at your house. Share what you can’t use. It was a tiring task for a woman of her age, but in late summer, this small village radiated with a stunning shade of yellow, allowing tiny flowers and lovely grasses to thrive.

The village went viral, as social media dubbed the town ‘Sunflower Village’. The word was out that sunflowers grew even in a hostile environment. Danielia was inspired when she realized how such a simple idea brought joy to so many. Her present homeland was a yellow glow of hope.

‘Why not plant these seeds next summer in my parents’ homeland where abandonment has left a damaged ‘no man’s land’. Why leave it at that. Why not share sunflowers for all nations.’

Daniela sent a package of seeds everywhere, for government leaders to sow as a symbol of hope. Nations carried this simple act to the highest level.  Countries with hostile climates built greenhouses with the help of more affluent societies. From space, the earth that summer was not seen as a blue marble but as a yellow ‘Protector’ of the earth.

Danielia never lived to see her legacy change darkness into light.


“Author’s note.

The idea for this short tale came from a Facebook item by a woman who lives in my neighborhood, Carol Huntington.  I’ve never met her but was inspired by her simple act of planting sunflowers and sharing the seeds to honor the Ukrainian homeland and its people with the color of their flag