I was getting close—just around the corner. Three days had passed since last seeing them, alive with butterflies and inching toward the garage roof of a neighbor. Joy infused my steps with giggles as humid breezes fanned my cheeks.

Up ahead, brilliant yellows seemed to stretch into the morning sun, guffawing. Then, they appeared: rows of sunflowers, bleached strips securing their heads to stakes. Awed, I stood among them, looking up. Bees alighted upon their daisy-like heads and did their bees-thing while a solitary blackbird cawed. Quintessentially summer’s gift, I lodged this multi-faceted image in my heart for a later time.

That time is now. Like those sunflowers, their heads trained upon the sun’s beneficence, from sunup to sundown, I depend upon Creator Sun, to keep me vibrantly alive as I move through the continuing diminishment of my lungs, increased weakness, and occasional brain fog. Eventually, these symptoms will contribute to the death of my body and the consequent release of spirit.

In a related sense, after sunflowers wither and die their seeds are harvested, supplementing diets with protein, Vitamin E, and heart-friendly good fats.

So the imprint of death coexists within the living, until exhausted and disintegrated—No warding it off with miracle fixes or geographical cures. It’s always been that way, evidence of an inscrutable wisdom is at work in our lives.

It behooves us to pay close attention and learn.