A Simple Pleasure

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.

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16 Responses to A Simple Pleasure

  1. Twyla says:

    I’ve had a pretty crappy morning… Thank you for putting things in perspective!

  2. Courtney Santo says:

    lovely sentiments.

  3. We only lived in Texas for two years, but I remember the bluebonnets.

    Thanks for the beautiful photo, Lisa, and the reminder, especially as I am scrambling to get ready for registration for the AML annual meeting.

    Wish I could be there to actually see them.

  4. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    And Kathleen, I wish I could be there, at the AML annual meeting! Enjoy.

  5. Th. says:


    I wish I could be there too. I’ve even been watching plane tickets but they’re so expensive.

    Is that your photo? It’s lovely.

  6. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    No, th. I commandeered it from google images. I love it.

  7. Julie Wright says:

    That was a wonderful post. Thank you for the reminder. I desperately needed it.

  8. Moriah Jovan says:

    Thanks, Lisa. I’m mired in work (although that’s really awesome), and haven’t had a minute to stop and smell the roses. Bluebonnets will do for now. :)

  9. Angela H. says:

    What a beautiful picture. Yesterday in Minnesota we had a blizzard and I had to pull the car over in the middle of it the scrape ice of my windshield blades with my gloved hands. There weren’t any bluebells on the side of the road. Yes, you can feel sorry for me now.

  10. Jonathan Langford says:

    What Angela said. But the lack of bluebells wasn’t the worst part — it was driving in the blizzard.

  11. Um. Bluebells aren’t exactly the same as bluebonnets (the Texas state flower), but I can appreciate the frustration. When Spring actually quits teasing us and gets around to being nice and staying nice (around here in northern Utah, anyway), then it turns into Summer and it’s HOT!

  12. Angela H. says:

    Dang! Bluebonnets. Jonathan, if you ever see me on the side of the road scraping ice, honk and wave. That goes for Wm Morris too. At least we can take solace in the fact that we’re in this together.

  13. James Goldberg says:

    Confession: for me, the new war in Libya is sweeter than bluebonnets.

    Not that I think war is a desirable thing–I was just worried Gaddafi was going to get to bomb his own cities into the ground in the process of killing a really admirable revolution and that made me so sad I started writing the President emails for the first time in my life.

    So the U.N. resolution coming just as Benghazi was getting shelled and bombed was a breath of fresh air, a sudden relief.

    Not all news is bad news, I thought.

  14. Ross Wright says:

    The first blossoms of spring are usually the shortest and the best. That sentiment also goes for the amazing honey bees, but not other early risers like the mosquites. Isn’t having the five senses great when spring finally reveals itself?

  15. mariana says:

    That was really beautiful! love it!

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