By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Welcome to March! For the Rio Grande Valley, March is a time of interesting dichotomies. A time in between times.
A time of cold and gray days brought on by the last hurrahs of winter-like cold snaps, and a time of piercingly sunny and hot days predictive of the coming summer. (Still waiting on one of those days to happen, by the way. No, I’m not feeling a little bitter about this lingering cold weather at all! Why do you ask?).
It’s a time when the bulk of our Winter Texan friends pack up their things and make the trek back north — to the Midwest, to Canada and elsewhere.
It’s a time when Mother Nature begins to usher in spring with pops of wildflower color, though the vernal equinox remains a couple of weeks off yet.
And it’s also the time when thousands of co-eds descend on South Padre Island to celebrate a veritable right of passage: Spring Break in our subtropical paradise.
Babes and bluebonnets. The two couldn’t be more different.
One is loud and colorful. A throng of young people full of jubilant energy, a sense of adventure, and willing to throw caution to the wind (just a little bit) to experience something new amongst new friends. Days filled with sunshine and sunbathing, nights filled with high-decibel dancing.
The other is also loud and colorful — among the soothing silence of Texas highways, country pastures and quiet glades off dirt roads. A sense of serenity waving in the crisp breeze of big sky country. The continuation of the centuries’ old inhalations and exhalations of Earth herself. In — with seeds and raindrops in the fall. Out — with sprawling shoots and blue petals unfurled in the spring.
You don’t actually see too many bluebonnets growing wild along the highways here in the Valley. You have to get much closer to San Antonio and Austin to really see them in numbers.
One of the few places I have encountered them down here is off some country lane in Willacy County, at the edge of a small cemetery. I don’t even think the road had a name.
But, they do grow well under cultivation. I planted some in pots last year and was happily graced with vibrant cerulean blooms for several weeks. They did so well that I planted even more this year.
But, well… so far they’re a no show. I blame the continuation of this absolutely dreary weather we’ve had since the new year. The dim and damp is making them shy, I suppose. And, true to form, the weather is dampening the kick off to Spring Break, too.
Luckily, the forecast for the next few days seems to indicate conditions will improve this weekend, with the beginning of next week looking positively sunny and warm. I hope so!
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