Ergi La Mente Al Sole

Turn your mind to the sun

rash mortal.

the eye’s light has no power

for it only sees what happens.

Focus in that radian centre

and seek to contemplate the eternal light

Ergi La Mente Al Sole -Luigi Rossi — 1597–1653

A couple of days ago on Saturday I atended the last concert of 2014 Vancouver Early Music Festival. The concert was called Vanitas Vanitatum. I wrote about it here.

Today Monday I was ruminating about the concert in particular as Rosemary and I attended the lecture (At University of British Columbia’s School of Music’s Gessler Hall) of Dutch harpsichord maker Ton Amir whose topic was the symbols behind the Dutch paintings of the 17th century. The talk was called Memento Mori.

One of the pieces on Saturday was Luigi Rossi’s Ergi La Mente Al Sole (Turn your mind to the sun). It was all about the sun and by the end how the sun is really in the shadow of God. The line “turn your mind to the sun” made a connection in my mind. The lowly but tall sunflower is called a girasol in Spanish. That translates to “turns to the sun”. That (a blinding light of inspiration?) all led to what I write below.

One of those most pleasant of annual pleasures happens when my oldest daughter, Alexandra arrives in the spring from her home in Lillooet, British Columbia with several pots of tall sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) which she grows from seed in her one acre property in that place that every year happens to compete with Lytton as the hottest spot in Canada. In fact today (I am writing this Monday night) it hit 37 Celsius in Lillooet.

There is not much sun in our garden and one of the last refuges for it is on our back lane which we have converted into a lane garden. Ale’s sunflowers are at their peak now and a few of them have dropped their yellow petals. I find that the spent flowers much like the Vanitas movement of Dutch art in the 17th century have a beauty even though they remind us of the passing of time and that inevitable death.

You make serene our days

O infinite source of rays

the sustenance of life

you form and show for them.

Without you, a dark prison

for us would be the delightful earth

and in the darkness of grief

all nature would weep

Ergi La Mente Al Sole — Luigi Rossi

Link to Ergi La Mente Al Sole



Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:

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