Monday, April 16, 2007

Texas Hill Country Wildflowers

When I used to travel around the country recruiting for my alma mater, the first thing most people would say when they saw I was from Texas was "It's all a desert there, isn't it?" To those people I say, look at these photos of our weekend drive around the Willow Loop in central Texas' Hill Country. This ain't no John Wayne desert, my friend.

From a high ridge near the middle of the loop you can see wildflowers rippling in the distance like bright blue ponds. Bursting into life for a few short months each year, Texas wildflowers like the bluebonnets seen here stand in stark, joyous contrast to the harsh granite, limestone, and cactus that surrounds them.

A ranch house and windmill nestle in the bluebonnet fields at the bottom of the small valley, the very ideal of the Texas Hill Country. I feel sometimes like I'm living in a Jackson Pollock painting, with hues spilled across the landscape in
wild abandon.
What amazes me about the abundance of these beautiful, fleeting flowers is how much their continued existence is owed to just one woman's vision -- Lady Bird Johnson. Her husband, LBJ, might be better known, but his amazing wife is far more loved here in Texas. Through sheer force of will she's brought these incredibly vivid flowers back to life along the highways and byways of Texas, making their beauty freely available to any who pass our way.

Thank you, Lady Bird, for reminding all of us that one person can make a difference. I can't think of a better way to "Keep Texas Beautiful" than this kind of breathtaking splendor, and I'm glad we got the chance again this year to take in the show.


Rob Rogers said...

I didn't know you went to Trinity! Beautiful campus and a very neat school. I visited there when selecting a college and was very tempted to go, but ended up selecting someplace a little closer to home instead. Strange--if I'd gone there, we might have been classmates or something since we're the same age.

Two brief memory snippets of Trinity. I had my first-ever breakfast taco there (they were essentially unheard of in Tennessee at that time). And I remember a student telling us on the tour that Trinity had one of the highest gardener:student ratios in America. He told the story about how he was walking to class one day and saw that a huge tree had blown down, its roots up in the air. By the time he walked out of class, not only was the tree gone, but the space where its roots had been was covered by sod--it looked as though the tree had never been there at all.

My word verification code: Tazgsran. Ask your doctor if Tazgsran is right for you.

Jeff Hebert said...

Wow, small world Rob! I don't know if you remember, but was the taco from Taco Cabana? Their first location anywhere in the world was just down the street from Trinity, and since they were open 24 hours it was a popular hangout. It was the first restaurant I ever went to where no one who worked there spoke English. Heady stuff for a Louisiana boy.

Of course, there are those who would argue that most people in Louisiana don't speak English, either.

The student-gardener ratio bit is one of the better lines from the tour guide spiel, definitely. I actually was in charge of that program for a couple of years and was a tour guide while a student. Good times.

I can't use Tazgsran any more, it gave me a horrible rash on my ... well. Never mind.

Rob Rogers said...


Jeff, I believe the breakfast taco actually came from the school cafeteria (or maybe a campus food court).