Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spring In Texas by Shaleen Kapil

I went hiking in February along a bayou trail, and I saw the first one. That harbinger of spring, at least to a Texas gal, is blue and wild. You only rarely see it in a garden bed. The Bluebonnet.

A sad and perhaps sorry specimen of such a special flower, but the sight of this flower amongst the weeds that would erupt in bloom soon made me rush off the path, away from the students I was leading, to take this picture of the first of the season.

In Texas, every child gets dragged out into a field of bluebonnets for pictures, despite fire ants and bees and even possible snakes (although I haven't seen one there yet--you got to know to make a lot of noise tramping out into the field). Yes, I've done it too.

And while pictures and paintings may have you believe that every field is set next to a beautiful barn or railroad track, the truth is that most of these portraits are taken on the side of the highway. 

The bluebonnet gained an artistic following with Robert Julian Onderdonk at the turn of the 1900s. He painted grand landscapes of the fields in Texas. Many painters have tried to imitate him. (Head to the Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum of American Art to see a few.) Now, it is a right of initiation for a painter in Texas to attempt to paint the state flower. (You can see my very amateur attempts here.)

So if you aren't a Texan, then if you really want to see this grand ole state in all its glory, head out to the highways towards the end of March. There is even a website telling you where the good blooms are every season: Texas Bluebonnet Sightings.

Shaleen Kapil was not born in Texas, but she has spent most of her life there. Find out more at or Like her on Facebook.

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1 comment:

  1. The bluebonnets sound lovely. I wish we had them here! Though right now I would settle for any kind of flower--it's been a looooong winter here! :)