Apparently the seed was in the soil the demolition company used to fill the hole when the pool was removed. It grew in the corner of the flower patch where I planted zinnias, and I decided to leave it, rather than treat it as a weed like I did with the other 14 sunflower plants that grew in the plot where the pool used to be.
You don’t even notice it in the first picture because it was in the back corner of the flower patch and only green. But it began to stand out more as the yellow petals began to appear and it grew taller even than the gardener.
There is a certain metaphorical truth here that applies to being a teacher as well as it does to being the gardener in the flower garden. Sometimes in the classroom you have to nurture the student other teachers have identified as the weed in the garden. And don’t get me wrong when I say this, I pulled enough sunflowers out of the bean fields as a farm boy to know how aggressively obnoxious they are in their weediness. But sometimes the classroom weed becomes the tallest, brightest, most beautiful flower in the patch. It shows you clearly what a little patience, a little love, and accepting a lot of risk can accomplish.
I have begun to think of the sunflower as Clarissa, the valedictorian of the flower patch.