Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bluebonnet ballad...

What is it about bluebonnets that compels me, as a mother, to automatically dress my kids in coordinated outfits, load them up in the van, and troop them out into a grassy field to squint up into the sun, at least once a year?

I have grown up living in Texas, seeing those lush, blue hillsides with a sprinkling of red, and I have always loved this time of year when the first bluebonnets start to pop up in the medians and by the sides of the road. In fact, the first house where we lived in Salado had a field behind it that was unbelievably thick with bluebonnets. It stretched back behind the house until it reached a line of trees at the back of the property. I can remember thinking it was beautiful, and I've always been a bit sentimental about our lovely state flower, but it wasn't until I moved away from Texas (and became a mom) that I became a bonafide bluebonnet nut job. A real bluebonnet head case (not to be confused with a Bluebell junkie.)

When I came home for a visit in the spring of 2001 to see my newborn triplet nieces and nephew, Josie was about seven months old. And it just happened to coincide with a really good bluebonnet year. **Sidenote: Now I've never figured out the formula for what makes a better season for bluebonnets. Lots of rain the year before? Drier conditions? A hot summer? Whatever the case may be, it seems like we all just wait around until March, keeping our fingers crossed that 'they'll be pretty this year'.

Anyway, until that spring, never did I think that a field of the blue beauties would bring a tear to my eye. But sure enough, the minute I saw them, I couldn't get my sweet little baby out in those bumblebee infested flowers fast enough.

Up to this point, I had certainly had my picture taken in the bluebonnets when I was a kid, and even as a teen. But as I got older, I'd always be amused when I would see entire families dressed in their Sunday best, perched on the hillside next to a highway overpass, snapping pictures as exhaust fumes from the speeding cars wafted up around them. I just didn't 'get' it.

But now that I'm a mom, I'm officially on the hunt for good bluebonnet patches every year to snap pictures of my kids. Some years are better than others, and I'm not shy about asking people where the best bluebonnets can be found. Some people are a bit coy about their 'top secret' bluebonnet photography studios, though. Go ahead, ask them where they took those pictures and just see if they don't become a little shifty-eyed and try to change the subject. Persist and you might hear, "Oh that? It was, um, just a little back road we were on one day, and we found this pretty patch of flowers. I just happened to have my camera with me." Gee, and THAT'S why all five kids and your dog are wearing matching outfits and bows? Hmmm...what a coincidence.

So, this season, the hunt is on. And while I've still not put my kids on the side of the Interstate for bluebonnet pictures, don't put anything past me. But if you DO see us on the side of the road, do me a favor? Just don't honk. I'm trying to get a picture, here. Jeez...


Kris with a K said...

Ah, the bluebonnet photos. We also have a stack of the squinty-eyed, "it's HOT! Are we done? I'm hungry!" photos (this was predigital...LOTS of film wasted). I gave up on it, but do love the photos. I'll let you know if I find any. Hey, one we found was in that weird little 'underpass' from Old Spicewood going under 360 over to the newer Spicewood, near Bull Run Park.

Oh, and I've always heard that lots of cold rain in Jan/Feb brings out the best bluebonnets. Drier weather brings the paintbrush. But that's just what I've been told.

Hope everyone over there is healthy again!

jen said...

One day I need to visit during this season to see if for myself. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Shanda said...

The side of the highway thing is way to scary for me...but if I come across a safe field, you will be the first to know. :o)

Tara said...

I think bluebonnets are what I miss most about living in Texas. We used to get a few patches in southern Oklahoma that migrated up, but I haven't seen them in a really, really, really long time.