Sure, there’s a new war in Libya. And yes, I know Japan is radiating, and not in the good way. The value of my home has dropped 20% in the past couple years. But overnight, here in Texas, the bluebonnets bloomed.
This annual Texas event may be something that non-Texans can’t fully understand, but to us, seeing those first, white-capped flower towers popping out from the weeds is heavenly. It enflames a sense of pride in our land, a sense of strength and persistence, and fosters a connectedness between people by reminding us that, no matter our station in life, all of God’s children are united in His simple pleasures. Historian Jack Maguire once wrote, “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.” Catching sight of spring’s first bluebonnets is like discovering a guardian angel has been by your side all along.
But for all the comfort their existence brings, there is an equivalent amount of grief. As any Texan will attest, the bluebonnets don’t last long. We consider it a very long season if they stay with us four weeks. Sometimes we get three out of them, but often as few as two. We feel pressure to get out and enjoy them, to take those priceless family photos before the natural backdrop disappears. Our joy in our state’s symbol of new life is always tinged with the knowledge that life, no matter how beautiful, cannot last.
Maybe this post doesn’t have much to do with literature. Maybe it does. Maybe a good book and a field of bluebonnets have a lot in common. After all, how united with others can a beautiful story make us feel? How long does a good book really stay with us? Maybe I’m stretching. Maybe you can think of other ways books are like bluebonnets. Maybe I just wanted to share the bluebonnets with you, to remind you that, no matter where you live, you are surrounded by simple pleasures, including the simple pleasure of reading. Maybe, on this morning when the bluebonnets awakened, something has re-awakened in me, namely the appreciation for the gifts we’ve been given—the gift to read, to write, to think, to touch, taste, see, hear and smell. Sure, the world has its burdens—earthquakes, tsunamis, men taken with evil—but it also has its bluebonnets. It also has its loving God.