The day dawned dull, gray and rainy. By the time we arrived at the Oklahoma – Kansas border and stopped for gas, it had quit raining, but at 5:30 am it was hard to tell if the skies had cleared. We stopped in Chanute, Kansas, for breakfast. The day was still gray and cloudy, but I could see a swath of bright sky in the north. Yes! My McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese biscuit quieted my stomach, but did nothing to hinder my anticipation of getting to Lawrence and seeing a commercial sunflower field for the very first time. Time to get back in the car with the one teenager I had dragged out of bed that morning to make the 3 1/2 hour trip with me. We drove up some of Kansas’ most picturesque roads, passing fields of soybeans and dried up corn, farms sporting bright red barns and old fashioned windmills. We drove through quaint little towns and I made mental notes of places I wanted to visit on another road trip. By the time we rolled into Lawrence, the skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly. We made our way through the busy streets of Lawrence, wondering why there were so many people out and about on a Saturday morning. Later, I would discover (by means of a wrong turn) the campus of the University of Kansas and the Jayhawk football stadium, waiting the kickoff of the pending ball game that evening. That explained it!
We drove a few miles east outside of Lawrence looking for Grinter’s Sunflower Farm. I told the teenager to keep her eyes peeled for the turn off. She didn’t have to say a word as we rounded a bend and there it was – a sea of yellow. Wow! I gasped. It was beautiful! We turned down the road and drove to the next corner where we turned to get out of the way of all the passing traffic. Everyone was out to see the sunflowers.
We parked the car and I grabbed my gear. We spent the next couple of hours walking through this amazing field in hopes of achieving the shots I had conjured up in my head the past few weeks. The field did not disappoint! The teenager even cooperated and let me take a bunch of photos of her. We now have a couple of wonderful options to put into the “Back To School” frame that hangs on our living room wall.
As the noon hour fast approached, I knew that the light was changing and I had better wrap this shoot up. The teenager was hungry – again. We made our way back through the massive field. I fired off more shots. And by the time we reached the car, I believed that I had gotten what I had driven all this way for. Some beautiful, brightly colored photographs to display on my vaulted, white, almost empty walls. The hard part is going to be deciding which ones are worthy of blowing way, way up.
I think I might just have to make a trip up again next year if the Grinter’s decide to once again bless us with this beautiful field of sunshine. It was worth the long drive. And the money I spent filling up the car – and the teenager! Until then, keep walking in sunshine and have
safe and happy travels!