By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
It almost snuck up on me. Normally, I make plans for it weeks in advance. I think about where I want to go, and at what time of day. I think about the photographs I hope to be able to capture once I’m there.
This time, I just happened to be out for a drive, simply trying to get from Point A to Point B, when I realized how beautiful the late afternoon sunlight looked even though it was blinding me as I drove west. I was tired and sleepy, but I couldn’t help but notice how refreshing the early springtime breeze was. And then I remembered the date: we’re already in late March, which means it’s time. It means I was almost too late.
Too late for what? Spring wildflowers!
While the rest of the state’s wildflower season is just barely kicking off, here in South Texas our warmer weather and hotter summers mean the blooms get a hefty head start if they want to bloom at all. And with this winter having been so warm, I was afraid that head start would have begun earlier than usual.
So, while I was extremely anxious to get to Point B, with my stomach quietly rumbling its hungry protest, I made a snap decision to check in on a hidden wildflower wonder I’ve visited several times before.
I had a ways yet more to drive and the sun was still hanging a bit too high in the sky for the kind of lighting I was hoping for, nonetheless I figured I should see if there were any flowers in my secret spot.
I exited the freeway somewhere in the Mid Valley before making my way down quiet residential streets and finally down a deeply pitted dirt path to a field filled with the serenity of birdsong and insect hums. Just as I had hoped, clumps of vibrant red and yellow dots were visible among the expanse of green, swaying gently in the breeze.
Thousands of fire wheels glowed in the golden western light. Fire wheels, also known as Indian blankets, are one of my favorite springtime wildflowers, second only to the state flower, the bluebonnet.
Cameras in hand, I got out of my car and spent the better part of an hour hunched down among the flowers taking photos. I forgot about being tired or hungry. I momentarily forgot about continuing on to Point B, too. For a short while, the only things that existed were those flowers, the fading sunlight, the wind and the symphony of birds calling out their lullabies before the sun set.
Sometimes you just need those brief moments of quiet to re-energize you. And as an added benefit, I left with a handful of pretty photos.
What’s your favorite thing about spring? Do you have a favorite flower, too? Let us know online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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