Something happened this weekend I think you’ll appreciate. A gateway life hack to a creative life.
I was in San Antonio, the tail-end of wildflower season, and I was bent on seeing fields of bluebonnets like they show in pictures. I wanted flowers at my feet like the pioneers met when they first crossed the country. Flowers as far as the eyes could see.
We headed northeast for Washington County, the proclaimed bluebonnet capital of Texas. We had the name of a town and list of country roads. The wildflower report 3 days prior said bluebonnets were waining, but to my mind, waining’s not the same as ‘gone.’
Preferring a slower pace, settling into the road, we drove backroads and country highways. We love seeing the countryside and how folks live. I expected surprises. There always are.
We saw green lawned parks filled with families beside lakes and rivers. And historic 19th century town centers looking frontier. I wondered on the people who settled those then-outposts. I felt no inspiration to stop, tho, and at two hours, I was done. I didn’t want the last 35 miles. We’d not seen one bluebonnet or tiny wildflower the entire day. On the way home we stopped at the new IKEA for the fry pan I wanted.
Next day, I was tired, feeling low. But we revived the idea and I found a different route. A loop to the northwest promising best ever bluebonnet views. We agreed we’d turn back if nothing showed, flowers or adventure, in 45 min.
Within 20 minutes we were in the famed Texas Hill Country, and it was gorgeous! Rocky, green….and covered with gold-yellow buttercups. They bordered the road forever in front of us. Spread like carpets out either side. They hugged up to the edges of homes, up under bushes and trees. They reminded me of happy gangs. I noticed folks mowed a small swath for yard and path to cars & barns, let the little flowers dance. I liked that, and thought how magical it must feel, living in a field of flowers.
Soon, orange spikes & purple dotted the yellow. And large low-lying pads of white and pink primrose. As we went higher, burnt orangey-red mixed in. (We looked them up later: Red Blanket flowers). And then, their places flipped. We traveled thru burnt orangey-red, the little gold-yellow buttercups mixed in.
I wasn’t prepared for the thrill of the bluebonnets. The blue so distinctive, it seemed it belonged only to that flower. Like a Carolina Blue sky, seen nowhere else and hard to describe. Pictures don’t exactly get it. They took my breath.
I noticed more ranches in this higher country, and where the land hadn’t been mowed or grazed, flowers filled the fields.
I was half starved a good part of the way, every single place (including fast food) closed after 1:45 Sunday, and I didn’t care. I had hours & endless miles of gold-yellow, burnt orangey-red, and that bluebonnet blue. Spots of other mixed in. For a surprise, fields with frilly white poppies for a mile or so. “This is what heaven’s like,” I said.
When we whipped in at a small ‘public restroom’ sign, pulled up to the little cinder-block building, I wasn’t prepared for the surprise there, either. “I’m fine,” I told my husband. “I’ve used outhouses in the middle of nowhere.” And as if angels got there before me, it was the full monty of best roadside public toilet: clean toilets, toilet paper, hand-soap, running water, and plenty of clean paper towels. Once out, I saw the strip of land was named a park. A few shadeless benches set high above a small, most likely damned, river, the banks down to the water encased in concrete. A man sat sideways on one of the benches. Legs crossed, back hunched low, he smoked a cigarette as he stared at the ground. He hadn’t moved since we got there. I looked around, and supposed watching cars cross the bridge could be a passtime.
Later, my heart filled, my Soul fed, feeling full of gratitude, I asked myself ‘What happened? This wild shift in my mood’.
We changed the route. We didn’t go back the same way, hoping for something we knew wasn’t missed.
And I changed my expectations the minute I saw flowers. The fields became a treat.
That night I dreamt I had giant white wings. Gold-yellow, burnt orangey-red, and blueonnet blue – the colors I saw all day – poured over them.
My invitation to you…when it’s not working, when it’s clear it’s not gonna work, shift the route. And shift your expectations if that’s what it takes so you can see what’s there. Open to the magic. I swear, it’s worth it.
Getting to Wise. A Writer’s Life.
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