Posts Tagged ‘Bluebonnets’

“No one knows what causes an outer landscape to become an inner one.” – Margaret Atwood

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. — Photo by Pat Bean

Catch ‘em While You Can

I drove from Dallas to Austin this past Thursday to attend the Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart memoir conference. The bluebonnets alongside the road on my I-35 and toll road 130 route were magnificent.


Up close and personal with Texas' state flower.

Up close and personal with Texas’ state flower.

On Sunday, after a fantastic few days of association with like-minded writer women, I made the return trip — and the bluebonnets were even more abundant and just as magnificent.

How could anyone not like bluebonnets?

They were named bluebonnets because someone thought they looked like the bonnets worn by pioneer women.

Texas’ singing cowboy “Pappy” O’Daniel, who became governor of the state when I was 2 years old, sang: “you may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know.”

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren't too shabby either. --  Photo by Pat Bean

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren’t too shabby either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Did you catch that Texas pride there? I have to admit it’s something I share.

If you were a native Texan, like me, and saw the fields of bluebonnets I’ve seen this past week, you would understand. .

This is a really good year for bluebonnets, which require special conditions of rain, sun and cold, to bloom at their best. But the fields of blue are short-lived.

So if you can, catch them soon.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Not Yet There http://tinyurl.com/k243py5 This is one of my favorite bloggers, and this month Red Jim is writing poetry daily because it’s National Poetry Month.

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 “Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!” – William Butler Yeats

Mount Ogden from 25th Street in Ogden. She holds a part of my soul. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

I’m in Ogden, Utah, in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains where I lived for a third of my life. It was a quick trip here from Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho, where I’ve spent a leisurely summer volunteering as a campground host and enjoying Mother Nature’s daily gifts.

I know that when I leave Utah today this range of the great Rockies will be denied me for many months. And my heart is already feeling the loss.

Anywhere bluebonnets grow automatically goes on my favorite places list. Among them is Texas' Lake Colorado City State Park shown above. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I sold my home here, the one that got the Ogden Canyon winds each day as the mountains breathed in and out, seven years ago. I have no regrets. I’ve traveled all over the country half of each year, and spent the other half hopping between my children and grandchildren, most of whom are in Texas.

It’s been both great to spend time with loved ones, and great to travel this beautiful country of ours and take in its wonders. People often ask me what’s my favorite spot.

 It’s a question I find difficult to answer because immediately dozens of places pop into mind. I’ve found beauty in every state I’ve visited, and that now includes 47. My goal, since I’ve already visited Hawaii and Alaska, is to have visited all 50 of our states by the end of next year. 

Meanwhile, when I leave here tomorrow, I will leave a piece of my soul secreted away in the Wasatch Mountains that guard Ogden. .I trust the mountains to guard it well until I return and once again stand in their shadow. Just as I hope the bluebonnets of Texas will still remember me when I gaze upon them once again next spring.

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Dallas: Crossing through the middle of it in rush-hour traffic stimulates the brain cells. -- Dallas skyline photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ashes to ashes. Dust to rust. Oil those brains. Before they rust. — From A. Nonny Mouse Writes Again by J. Prelutsky

Working crossword puzzles and riding roller coasters are both supposed to be good for the brain. The first one stimulates the thinking muscles and the second one provides a quick shot of adrenalin to jolt the brain awake.

Even though it's essential to keep one's eyes on the road, one still can't help noticing Texas' famous bluebonnets growing wild alongside Dallas' many freeways. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I came up with another way to enrich those little gray cells yesterday. I drove my RV from my oldest daughter’s home in Rowlett to Irving to have lunch with my grandson. Irving, by the way, is the real home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The round-trip journey took me through the heart of downtown Dallas, beneath underpasses and overpasses stacked up to five lanes high, and across seven lanes of one-way traffic near where Interstate 30 and Interstate 35E meet up. I entered 35’s bumper-to-bumper traffic in the right lane and exited, just a few miles down the road, from the far left lane.

The trip had to have exercised and jolted my brain enough to erase at least the couple of years I aged on the cross-town journey.

Strangely, however, I don’t mind the occasional road trip like this. Such an experience lets me know I can still cope with the modern world. It also makes me appreciate all that much more the rural, little-traveled scenic byways I carefully select for most of my travels.

What gave my soul another delight this time was that the shoulders of the busy freeways were often alive with patches of bluebonnets.  They were the first I’ve seen this season.

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A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man (or woman) contemplates it, bearing with him (her) the image of a cathedral.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Devil's Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park. -- Photo by Benjamin Bruce


Travels With Maggie

When I sit for awhile, I check out nearby scenic landscapes and interesting places to visit. One of these within easy driving distance of Harker Heights, Texas, where my RV is now resting up, is Inks Lake State Park. It’s just 69 miles away, perfect for a day’s get-away when wanderlust gets the best of Maggie and me.

It’s a special place to me because I camped there with my children in the 1960s. The park was very undeveloped at that time, as were we as campers. Instead of the high-tech tents and camping equipment that eventually found their way among my possessions, we used blankets as sleeping bags and tin foil as cooking equipment.

The park today is quite amenable to campers, with electrical hookups for RV-ers like me and a few cabins for those who are not into tents and sleeping on the ground. It also has nearly eight miles of developed trails which I love to explore.

In spring, this Texas recreation spot park is filled with wildflowers, including Texas’ famous bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, and twittering birds. In winter, I found it a peaceful place where the landscape’s pink, granite rock formations bared their soul.

It’s reasonable to say that both the park and I have come a long way in the passing years.

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A field of bluebonnets at Goose Island State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”  — John Burrough 

A drive past a field of bluebonnets, or even just a roadside ditch colored by their blue intensity, calms my soul. It’s my alternative to a psychiatrist’s couch. And when I get to walk through a field of them, as I did this past week at Goose Island State Park outside of Rockport, Texas, the chaos of today’s world briefly disappears.

Bluebonnets represent Mother Nature at her finest. And Texas has adopted them, all five species, as its state flower. Yes, I said. five. It’s as if the goddess of beauty couldn’t just create one.

There’s Lupinius subcarnosus (the original state flower title holder that prefers sandy soil), Lupinus texensis (the favorite of artists because of its fanciful white-tip), Lupinius Havardii (the Big Bend variety whose flowering spikes grow up to three feet tall), Lupinus concinnus (a smaller plant whose blooms are more rosy and lavender than blue), and finally Lupinus plattensis (which favors the Texas Panhandle as habitat).

While I find these botanical facts fascinating, and thank Texas Cooperative Extension experts for educating me about bluebonnets, the true joy comes from being able to stand beside a patch of these blooms and breath in their beauty. They make me proud to say I’m a Texan.

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