Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bluebonnet time in Texas

I grew up in Texas, my family having moved there from Rhode Island the summer before I entered second grade. I left Texas at the age of 20 (how can it possibly have been 47 years ago?), but even though I now live in an area of the country where every spring is absolutely gorgeous with white dogwoods, pink dogwoods, purple redbuds, purple tulip trees, white Bradford pear blossoms, pale pink cherry blossoms, azalea bushes in many shades, daffodils, phlox, forsythia (I could go on and on), every year around this time I become nostalgic for flat land, mesquite trees, and a field filled with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. This photograph (click on it and it will become a full-screen version) could have been taken from the front yard of my childhood home (it wasn't--I found it on the internet). All it needs to make the scene complete is a dirt road and what people in Texas call a "bob-war fince" (barbed wire fence). If the photographer had then turned and taken a snapshot in a different direction, you might see a pasture full of Hereford cattle, the reddish-brown kind with faces of white. And if the photographer had turned in still another direction, you might see my mother picking blackberries or peaches or roses or lilacs, or you might see my father coming home from work, carrying his lunchpail, walking up the lane all the way from the paved road where his carpool dropped him off.

As an old poem says, “Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, / Make me a child again just for tonight!”

I don't really want to go back; it was not an idyllic period of my life. I am just missing the bluebonnets tonight.

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