Back to Texas after four months away, and the Winnie was like I never left it. Central Texas had an unusually cold winter with single digit temps, so it’s always a relief to hear the water pump roar to life while filling the lines, then stop once it’s done its job, not to be heard from until summoned for duty once again.
Those who know me know that I am not a big fan of my native state. I always felt like I was the oddball in one of those “Which one is not like the others” games. It took leaving Texas to realize it wasn’t just me. I never owned a pair of cowboy boots. I don’t care to learn how to shoot a gun. And I can’t subscribe to the “everthang’s bigger ‘n better in Texas!” because I have seen bigger and better. (Nor do I find humor in the guy wearing the “I’m a A$$hole, I own guns, and if you don’t like it, MOVE!” tee shirt in front of me while waiting for Mom’s prescription in the pharmacy line.) I’ve tried all my life to lose my Texas twang. And I’ve never done a line dance in my life. So returning to Texas is a means to an end…to see family, not to visit Texas. And certainly not to call it “home.”
But there is an exception to my undying disdain for the Lone Star State, and that is the brief two weeks in April when the usual dry, brittle Johnson grass and shrubby mesquite trees are spiffed up with a rolling carpet of “bluetopia” as the Texas Bluebonnets begin unfurling along the highways, fields, pastures, and country roads. Driving down to Ennis, where 40 miles of country roads and gently rolling hills have been designated as the “Texas Bluebonnet Trail” is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Seeing the waves of blue undulate down through the meadows and up over the hills is a sight that thrills me with delight!
It’s not enough to see them along the highways. I want to get out of the car and smell their heady, intoxicating fragrance wafting through the air. One or two plants alone, and you can barely detect a scent. But get in the midst of an entire field of them, and their fragrance permeates with a sweet, powder-scented breeze. I can smell them the minute I step out of the car.
It’s not just the bluebonnets, though. This year, the Indian Paintbrush were almost as prolific. Sadly, they have no fragrance, though. So bluebonnets continue to reign supreme as the harbingers of spring.