We talk about moving a lot – about leaving Houston, leaving Texas, leaving home. We talk about seasons and leaves that change colors before they fall. We talk about snow and mountains and teaching Z to ski. We talk about places outside of the suburbs, where there’s space to breathe and grow and think. We talk about new beginnings and fresh starts and other cliché phrases that really just mean getting the hell out of Houston Dodge.
But for all of my bluster, I don’t know if I really could leave. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the Lonestar State – home of the Alamo, Come and Take It, and Austin – my home. I could list a million reasons to stay, starting with “my family is here” and ending with lazy river floats down the Guadalupe. I could tell you about country concerts and cowboy boots, about hot summers and cooling down with cold Shiner Bock. I could write about southern hospitality and BBQ and two-stepping on a wooden floor. Any one of those would be reason enough to stay.
But there ain’t one reason greater or more beautiful than the one that blooms every Spring, sprouting up and down the Texas highways, covering fields with blue and white and gorgeous, enticing people to slow down as they drive or pull over for a picture or twenty.
Bluebonnets, y’all. Bluebonnets.
A few weeks ago I was driving to Gruene for my sister’s bachelorette party and I saw them for the first time this year. They’d popped up out of nowhere, probably overnight like they always do, and had taken over the grassy stretches down I-10. As I sang along with the Dixie Chicks and asked a cowboy to take me away, a sort of peace settled over me. This was home.
When life is crazy and upside down and out whack, when I feel uncertain about the future and what’s next and how do we keep going, when I can count on one hand the things of which I’m sure won’t change, I know with all certainty I can count on one thing: bluebonnets.
Come hell or high water, drought or tornadoes, those vibrant, beautiful flowers are going to bloom every spring. They may not stay for very long, but I know they’ll be back next year and the year after that and so on until the end of time (or the end of Texas but my money is on time ending first). Because they’re strong and resilient and Texas-made. Somehow, knowing that gives me hope.
Hope in a new spring and a new year. Hope that this too shall pass. Hope that if we just keep going, keep living, keep loving, we’ll get to bloom another year. Hope that if we hold on tight and bury our roots deep in Texas soil, we’ll find the strength to get through the crazy weather.
And if sometime, for some crazy reason, we do decide to leave Texas. I know we’ll be okay – I know I’ll be okay.
Because like a bluebonnet, I’m strong and resilient and Texas-made.