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Texas might be showing its true colors this spring - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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Texas might be showing its true colors this spring

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Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 12:00 am

It’s the time of year when you start thinking about the three B’s.

Not familiar with that grouping? Well, it’s springtime and we’re talking baseball, bluebonnets and … well, you can pick out the third topic. It could be blooming, which is what a lot of trees are doing these days. Might be beer, if that happens to be one of your weaknesses. Or you can substitute birds, bees (not necessarily in the traditional dual sense) or even buzzards. All are traditional spring creatures.

But for our purposes today, let’s just concentrate on the state flower of Texas. And if the weather ever turns warm and stays that way for a week or so, this promises to be a bountiful year for bluebonnets.

After several years of drought, lots of moisture has visited the prime country for our brilliant flower that just has a unique hue that hovers between bright blue and purple. So everyone fully expects the Hill Country to be ablaze with all sorts of wildflowers.

But the star, of course, is the featured performer that can paint an entire hillside into a photographer’s dream.

This is a pure Texas thing, of course. But we share it with anyone who cares to partake of the special scenery. If this year’s crop lives up to expectations, and if you take the time to enjoy a treat that has been largely dormant for the past few springs, expect to see a lot of out-of-state license plates on vehicles that have pulled over to enjoy the better landscapes. We’re glad to share.

But let us also say that the first test of proving that you’re a native Texan is to be able to produce a photo of yourself at an early age surrounded by a sea of bluebonnets.

Naturally, the folks out here in West Texas have a finer appreciation for a blanket of bluebonnets because they have to go to greater lengths to see the flowers. Even in good years, it’s a solid three-hour drive before you can fully appreciate these natural beauties, either in the Big Bend area or Central Texas.

So if the lure of the bluebonnet strikes, it’s best to be prepared.

Oh sure, you can get an eyeful clocking along lots of highways at the speed limit. And you can find lots of places to pull over and shoot some photos.

But you also might want to consider the road less traveled. And that would include the fairly well known Willow City loop between Austin and Fredericksburg (Google it for the exact directions). This is a scenic pleasure that guarantees you’ll stop and see the flowers (smell ’em, too, if you want) because the loop is a winding path through private ranches with low-water crossings and curves that sometimes can accommodate a single lane of traffic. So you get a lesson in mutual courtesy as a bonus. Plus, waiting for an oncoming car to clear so you can pass is a good excuse to enjoy the bluebonnet vistas.

From the Permian Basin, you have to make an investment of time and money. But the show is never the same and often is not all that spectacular. But, from early indications, this might be a bluebonnet spring not to miss.

Odessa, TX

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