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Posts Tagged ‘Goose Island State Park’

“Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life march, as you will.” — Thomas Carlyle

This day cacti are blooming in Arizonia

Tonto Basin cactus -- Photo by Pat Bean

And Bluebonnets color Texas’ roadsides

Goose Island State Park, Texas -- Photo by Pat Bean

If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.” — Audra Foveo

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“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” Lillian Smith

Has life shaped you like a gulf wind has shaped this Goose Island State Park tree? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Standing in a field of grass patterned with bluebonnets at Goose Island State Park is a tree that’s allowed wind blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico to shape its profile.

It wasn’t much different, I thought on first seeing it, then how life shapes us humans.

For some odd reason, I thought again this morning about that tree, which I had photographed last April when I spent a week with my dog, Maggie, on Goose Island birdwatching. I think my brain was triggered in that direction after reading the quote: “Normal is a setting on a washing machine.”

On finding the photograph, I decided to blog about the message the tree had conveyed to me.

I’m not sure now that was such a good idea.

My thoughts, just as I placed my fingers on the keyboard, became such a jungle of contradictions that I’ was suddenly struck wordless. That’s a rarity by the way.

Do I write about how walking into a newsroom the first time pushed the rest of my life into a direction as slanted as that tree? Or about how coming out of a raft and being pulled beneath it gave me more appreciation of life? Or about how travel has opened up new worlds and new ways of thinking?

I couldn’t decide.

Perhaps some less confused blog readers can help me out. How has life shaped you? I’d really like to know.

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The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park on Texas' Gulf Coast. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. — Henry David Thoreau

Travels With Maggie

One of my favorite places to escape for a few days when I’m visiting my son on the Texas Gulf Coast is Goose Island State Park, where I always take time to visit “The Big Tree.”

She a fat old broad, more than a 1,000 years old. Her special status is a result of her massive girth – 35-foot trunk circumference with a 90-foot crown – than her 45 foot height. Many live oaks are taller. It’s the combination, note the tree experts, that won her the title, State Champion Coastal Live Oak, in 1969.

Trees fascinate me. This is evident when I take a trip down memory lane with my photos, I find I’ve captured many of their images with my camera

You now have proof. Pat Bean is a tree hugger. This tree grows in Custer State Park in South Dakota. -- Photo taken by a fellow traveler, right after I took her picture hugging the same tree.

I see trees as living art. In summer, their green coolness is a Monet painting; in autumn their bright purple, red, orange and yellow leaves belong on a Gauguin canvas, and in winter, their stark dark and light pattern of limbs remind me of an Escher.

I even have several photos of me with my arms around a tree that I asked the occasional travel companion to snap. While I might be a bit ashamed to be a “Survivor” fan (yesterday’s blog), I take great pride in saying I’m a tree hugger.

Just one problem, Goose Island’s Big Tree is too big for me to hug properly.

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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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