Illustration by Christine Watlington Now that summer’s here I think of sunflowers I saw once in southern France, fields and fields of them, their heads nodding in the breeze. And then I think of Arles, Vincent van Gogh and all his vibrant, tactile yellows made possible because of newly invented pigments, such as chrome yellow. The other day I bought a bunch of sunflowers from Amaral’s farm stand, stuck them in a bright blue jug we bought years ago in the south of France, and taking in their rich yellow fringes and chestnut florets, had a long and satisfying Van Gogh moment. But looking at one of the heads, its petals slightly droopier than the others, a shock of memory shot through me—the involuntary Proustian kind that takes you instantly back to your earliest days. Back in childhood I was, but I just couldn’t remember what I was remembering.