This is the only place on earth bluebonnets grow / Once a year they come and go / At this old house here by the road / And when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing / Then we will fly away to heaven come some sweet bluebonnet spring. (James Hooker, Nanci Griffith, Danny Flowers)
I am an uneasy Texan. I mean both that the name “Texan” sits uneasily on me and also that there is plenty about Texas that makes me uneasy. On the other hand, my heart is guaranteed to swell with Texan-pride once a year, right about now. Dadgum, the hill country is lovely in the spring. And never more lovely than right this minute, when the bluebonnets are going berserk.
In just the last week, the Texas bluebonnet has exploded on the scene like a kid busting out of a four-month detention. Bluebonnets will pop up in small bits along the road, and then the next patch over will extend as far as the eye can see, in a crazy, generous profusion. The bluebonnets don’t last long, so folks are real aggressive about getting out to enjoy them. On the weekends there are a bazillion families, babies, wedding couples and dogs getting their pictures taken in the fields along country roads. Texpats always talk about longing for bluebonnets in the spring.
Nanci Griffith’s lovely song Gulf Coast Highway claims that Texas is the only place on earth bluebonnets grow, and I want to believe her. I was also curious about this year’s over-the-top volume of flowers, so I checked with Flavia, my nature-smart-teacher friend. Flavia says this year’s bumper crop is mostly the result of rain at the right time, which we had last fall. “There are lupines all over the world,” she says, “but think our gal Nanci is right about this species which is texensis!”
The excessive generosity of bluebonnet fields always makes me think of Jesus’ parable of the sower, with the farmer who was so happy flinging seed he didn’t care where it landed. Surely the bluebonnet is a metaphor for the extravagant love God shows us, and which is so obvious, if we just have the eyes to see it. And surely we are meant to fling our love willy-nilly out into the world, like the generous farmer in the parable. Our broken world needs it. Shower the people, people.