Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bluebonnet on It

Yesterday I saw the first bluebonnet of the season at Dog Park. It was puny little thing, pale and wan. I was amazed; I did not expect to see any this year. It's my understanding that bluebonnets need a winter cold enough to break seed coats and rain enough to germinate them, and we had neither this winter or last. Two years ago, when we had a great deal of rain, was a banner season for bluebonnets and all the wild flowers at Dog Park. The north field was awash in purple blooms. From the parking lot, it seemed our field had been transformed into an azure lake. Quite beautiful. I never did take a photo of it. I think I wanted my own little Wordworthian moment. I wanted to recollect those bluebonnets in tranquility. And I often have. 

Bluebonnets are especially cherished not only for their beauty but because they are clear season markers in a place that has little in the way of seasons. Some springs are so hot that the flowers are the only way to identify the time of year. The Dog Parkers await the wild blooms the way kids anticipate Christmas. First signs are not only noted but talked about. Once the flowers are out in full force, they become the main topic of conversation. How long can they last? Are they brighter than last year's? Taller? Fuller? How is the weather helping--or not? The colors in the fields change as the purple of the  bluebonnets gives way to reds and yellows of Indian paintbrushes and Mexican blankets. By early May, only a few tough stragglers are still hanging on before summer heat truly kicks in. 

I will try to find that bluebonnet and take a photo this year. In the meantime, for those of  you who have a shaky memory of high-school English or don't have your Norton's Anthology handy, here is the Wordsworth poem I alluded to above. --zia

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (1807)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er the vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of the bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my hear heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 3rd edition, 1983, p.556.

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