Send Me Dead Flowers

I’ve had Townes Van Zandt’s rendition of Dead Flowers stuck in my head all day, ever since I came across a patch of dried Black Eyed Susans in the hay I was feeding the cattle. I suppose the combination of the dead flowers and the “little Susie” reference made the connection inevitable. There are a bunch of other Black Eyed Susan songs in the folksy or rootsy that could have been contenders, but today Dead Flowers just seemed to demand that I keep humming it as I fed the cattle and worked on the chicken brooder. Perhaps writing this post will finally get it out of my system.

Flowers are typically more broken up by mowing, raking, and baling, but I was surprised to find dozens of intact specimens in this bale. Hay bales are time capsules, archives of the plants that were growing at a particular season and place. They vary from field to field and even within the same field. Seeing these colors, faded as they are, provided a little boost of expectation for the coming summer when we’ll be surrounded by blooms. Winter is great, but summer is always better.

The cattle didn’t offer any comments on the presence of Black Eyed Susans in the hay. They simply ate it.

2 thoughts on “Send Me Dead Flowers”

  1. Alice Smith Duncan

    Ahhh, Dead Flowers. The second Van Zandt connection I’ve encountered today… the earlier in the New Yorker about his brother, Robert, whose novel is the basis for a new film about Texas oil. I hadn’t realized TvZ was from such a prominent family, but it makes sense. This link is easier to get into:

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