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I found the Field of Dreams!

I just returned from my book tour of Texas and had the most miraculous experience while there. I had promised my wife that she would see huge fields of bluebonnets in bloom, but everywhere we went, we only saw patches of them beside the road. There’s been a drought in parts of the Lone Star State that has affected the germination of wildflowers.

Bluebonnets can only be found in Texas in the whole world. They are site specific and need just the right conditions in order to grow. Members of the lupine family, they are pollinated in a rather magical manner:  the petals open when the bee alights on them, then the top turns from white to magenta to show that its pollen is no longer fertile. Livestock and even deer won't eat them because the lupine alkaloids are toxic to them, so the flowers flourish unmolested for weeks in April. The Texas writer, J. Frank Dobie, had this to say about them: "No other flower --- for me at least --- brings such upsurging of the spirit and at the same time such restfulness."

It was our last day in Texas, Easter Saturday, and we had just about given up on finding the Holy Grail of Wildflowers when my wife saw a posting on her Facebook page. Every year, one particular patch of bluebonnets is given the title "The Field of Dreams." This year, it was along Lake Travis west of Austin. We drove down dusty roads until we found it: the 2014 Field of Dreams opening up along the shore. Bluebonnets as far as the eye could see. Like rolling waves of a blue sea. It truly looked as though "the sky had fallen on Texas." And the fragrance! Sweet, intoxicating! This was a true Easter experience as we found out. A lady at a Wildflower farm told us that bluebonnets won’t bloom without a secret ingredient: cow manure!  They need the bacterium from manure in order to generate their sky-blue blossoms. If that's not an image of death and resurrection, I don’t know what is. Easter touched us in a special way that day. We didn’t want to leave. We felt blessed. And reborn.

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Guest Monday, 19 February 2018