Field of Dreams

The irony wasn't lost on me but then irony rarely is. I went to see the fields of sunflowers yesterday to take advantage of the photographic opportunity. But my schedule and the weather contributed to my decision as well. And then there was the anniversary of my mother's passing and what better way to observe it than to drive some back country roads? Mom loved New England, road trips and watching the scenery unfold along the way.

Buttonwood Farm has established an annual but short event, their Sunflowers for Wishes fundraiser. They plant 14 acres of sunflowers and sell bundles of flowers for $5, donating 100% to the Make-A-Wish® Connecticut foundation. Make-A-Wish® is dedicated to making wishes come true for children experiencing life-threatening medical conditions in the belief that these experiences will make a difference. I heard it was not to be missed, so I packed my cameras, activated my GPS and hit the road.

The Connecticut farmland spread out before me, packed with cornfields, edged with green trees and stone walls, punctuated with rustic barns and classic farm houses. The summer sky was brilliant and vivid white clouds tossed and turned against an azure sky. In just a short drive, as I crested the hill I saw them, faces turned to the sun, divine perfection.

As I walked among the fields, bees were buzzing and the photographers were as well. One gentleman remarked to me that it was like a field of dreams. And so it is: the sunflowers planted make dreams come true and fill everyone who experiences them with joy, beauty and reverence.

Here I was, surrounded by beauty and the promise of hope. The opportunity to have an experience so remarkable, so special that it could make all the difference in the healing process, my healing, anyone's healing. An experience that allows a child to move from a world of nurses and doctors, hospitals, tests, and medicines to a place of magical expectation, strength and joy. This is what the sunflowers offer, this is the commitment made by Buttonwood Farm, Make-A-Wish and by all the volunteers who create this field of dreams and wishes.

My mother endured years of chemo, a double mastectomy and more. But she lived a long and good life and she was a tireless volunteer, giving over 35,000 hours of service to ValleyCare Health System Auxiliary in California. I found that being in a field of sunflowers was a wonderful way to be with her memory. To share with other photographers the call to document such beauty, to witness the families as they arrived for a summer's adventure and took snapshots for their albums. To join in the charity of giving, to help spread hope, to be a small part of another's journey to healing however it unfolds. Oh, and to celebrate with some of the most amazing ice cream ever.

If you are in the neighborhood, you have only a few more days to walk in the field of sunflowers, but the corn maze is growing and there's always that ice cream.

Buttonwood Farm, 471 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, CT 06351  860.376.4081

All photos ©2013 Valerie Randall, for more info please go to http://valerierandall.com/

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