Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bluebonnets were blooming in July this year

I just finished reading a wonderful tribute to Lady Bird in the Wildflower Center's Wildflower magazine, in which someone commented that Lady Bird had visited the Wildflower Center for the last time shortly before she died. That would have been around the beginning of July. The author of this particular article commented that, though it is not their season, bluebonnets were blooming on that day.

Bluebonnets normally bloom in March in Central Texas. I grow them in my garden every year. Like so many wildflowers, they reseed naturally, often in places where you don't really want them growing (the middle of a path, for example). This year the spring was so wet and the summer so wet and cool that I had bluebonnets lingering well beyond their 4-6 week bloom season. In fact, I had one that held on until late July. There are, of course, lots of explanations for this. I like the one that includes Lady Bird in some way or another.

Those of us who have lived here a long time probably don't take our bluebonnets for granted, because they are so beautiful and such a treat, coming as they do only once each year in early spring, but we might tend to be somewhat dismissive of the typical landscape painting depicting a field of bluebonnets. Especially if one has a connection to the art world, this genre is, well, it's a bit sentimentalist at best. All that got swept away as I perused the incredible photos of Lady Bird in her fields of flowers -- Lady Bird with President Johnson on the ranch, Lady Bird with kids in Washington D.C., Lady Bird at the Wildflower Center. Pictures of fields of flowers have never seemed so moving as they are when she is in them. Maybe I'm just in a weepy mood, I don't know. I don't think I'll look at a field of bluebonnets in the same way, ever again.

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