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April 2013

Magic Quote

It was an unusually cruel year on the Llano. The Comanche suffered greatly under the intense sun, baking the marrow of their bones until it sucked the life out of man and beast alike. With the absense of rain, the grass did not grow and the buffalo did not thrive. There had been many rain dances until The People's legs felt like reeds in the wind. Whole families had been wiped out and those that were left wept in sorrow for their losses. Children were orphaned, with little hope of being taken in by another family. There wasn't enough food to share. The Great Spirit had forsaken them. Their bountiful land was being laid to waste.

This tale is about a child that did survive after her parents journeyed to the happy hunting grounds. She lived by begging from one meager camp after another. Her name was She-Who-Is-Alone. Her only possessions were a tattered deerskin that barely covered her body, and a doll her grandmother had given her before she passed away. The doll was made of cornhusks wrapped in a remnant of buffalo hide. One vivid blue feather stuck out from the top where the head should be. She-Who-Is-Alone did not weep, even though she missed her family very much. She was worried about the surviving members of her tribe. She did not want to see them go the way of her family. The People were all she had left.

One day, the Chief addressed the tribe and told them of how the Great Spirit, in the guise of a White Buffalo, had come to him in a dream. Everyone knew this was very strong medicine indeed. He explained that the Great Spirit told him that The People would have to bring something very precious with them to sacrifice in the bonfire they would build just before nightfall. There was a lot of grumbling, as all of the past efforts had gone without reward.

That night, after the bonfire was lit and the tongues of flame reached high enough to tickle the very under-belly of the star-filled sky, the entire tribe gathered together. It seemed no one wanted to part with their prized possessions. The People realized they had no other choice. Slowly, one by one, each member approached the flames. The warmest blankets, strongest bows, and finest bonnets were sacrificed for the general good. But still - no rain came.

After everyone else had made their offering, She-Who-Is-Alone slowly made her way through the crowd and approached the scorching blaze. Everyone watched her as she closed her eyes, lips moving in concert with her silent prayer, beseeching the Great Spirit to bring the rain clouds to cover the earth. The only thing she had in the whole world to give was the doll her grandmother had given her. She-Who-Lived-Alone grasped her doll tightly to her chest and said her final good-bye. She was willing to part with her doll if it would help her tribe.

With no regret, She-Who-Is-Alone gingerly tossed her doll in the flames. She sat down, next to the fire, remaining very still, quietly saying her prayer, until the fire died out. She got to her feet and reached into the fire circle where her doll had been. Picking up a handful of ashes, she threw them high into the air, where the wind scattered them across the prairie. She then lay down on the hard ground and fell fast asleep.

She-Who-Is-Alone was a beautiful little girl. She looked like a fragile, porcelain doll as the rain began to fall upon her cheek. Her eyes fluttered for a moment, then popped open with excitement. Great joy washed over her. Leaping to her feet she ran out upon the plains. There she saw the now verdant land, rich with nourishing grass for the buffalo. As far as the eye could see the prairie was dotted with large patches of blue flowers. She had not seen such beautiful flowers before. They were the exact color of the feather that had adorned her precious doll.

The entire Comanche tribe came out to see the wondrous sight. They saw She-Who-Is-Alone crying, unabashed, and with great joy. Her face turned towards the sky, arms spread wide, as she danced her dance of thanks to the Great Spirit. The People saw the beautiful blue flowers spread upon the prairie and remembered they were the same color as She-Who-Is-Alone's feather. They knew that their good fortune of life sustaining rain, vibrant flowers and nourishing prairie grass were due to She-Who-Is-Alone's ardent prayers and unselfish sacrifice. The People raised their collective voices in a song of thanks to the Great Sprit, they were saved.

Her name was soon changed to One-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People. She would never have to worry about food or clothing again. Her child's love was returned ten fold by all of The People.

Thus the Legend of the Blue Bonnet was born.

This adaptation of the Legend written by -
Cappy Paxton

Page 2


There are two things growing that a Texan will accept as a sign of spring; 1) Redbuds 2) Bluebonnets

Each year, Texans look forward to their first sighting of bluebonnets. The farther south one lives the earlier you will see the blooms.


The question is, "Where are the best fields and when is the best time to see them?"

This, my loyal reader, is the question we'd all like to know the answer to. There is no consistent answer that will stand year to year. If you know someone in a particular area, the best advice it so contact your friend and ask, "Is there bloomage?" A true Texan will know immediately what you are referring to. It is something a Texan looks forward to every year.

There is one element to a great wildflower season, especially Bluebonnets, that overwhelmingly has the greatest effect. Rain! Not just a rain, also, when rain. Bluebonnets germinate in the fall. Rain in October and November have a tremendous influence. Also rain in late winter and early spring will encourage vigorous and vibrant growth. As luck would have it, we've had both this year.

There are several touring options that have a high probability of success. I will list a few places around the state and we'll see how it turns out. Let me know.
Even though rainfall has once again been sparse in the Big Bend area, I have heard that Bluebonnets have already been sighted there ... as early as February.

Living in North Texas, I have found Ennis to consistently provide fields of bodacious wildflowers. If you do a Bing, Google or Yahoo search on Ennis Bluebonnets, you'll be directed to several URL's that will guide you through the many roads that will take you to several fields covered in blooms

If you're living towards the southern end of the state, the Willow City Loop can be spectacular on a good year. The Loop is a very nice ride any time of the year. Warning, it can get a little crowded during the Bluebonnet season, so if you're there for just the ride, you might want to pick another time of year. You'll find it just 20 miles NE of Fredericksburg, enter the Loop off of FM-1323. From the north entrance to the Loop, it is accessed from TX-16; a hop, skip and jump from the Enchanted Rock State Park, which is on RM-965 (a great opportunity for a twofer).

Austin, thanks to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson's highway beautification program, is the center of the mid-Texas Bluebonnet Trail. Take Highway US-183 to FM-1431. You'll find yourself between the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge on your right and the windings of the Colorado River on your left. This route takes you to Marble Falls.

From there, your next stop will be Kingsland, the site of the last Indian battle in that area. From there, stay on FM-1431 until you reach TX-29 which takes you into Llano, one of my favorite little stops and home to the ACME dry goods store, as well as Cooper's BBQ.

A little north of Llano is Lake Buchanan, the first and largest lake in the Highland Chain. Buchanan Dam is home to the oldest artists' cooperative in the U.S. During the festival they sell inexpensive bluebonnet paintings. The fields along the lake have huge fields of bluebonnets on each side of the road.

Buckaroos, this brings me to the end of my bluebonnet saga ... that being the T.M.R.A. State Rally in Comanche, Texas. I'll be there April 12-14. The city park has large patches of bluebonnets and the surrounding area has many roads with wildflowers lining them. There is a ride on Saturday morning that will guide you through the countryside. If you've never gone on one of these rides before, this will be a great opportunity. If you have been on the Saturday ride before, then I don't have to tell you how much fun they are.

Please visit the URL below. The article will be in color. There will be several bonus shots added, including Texas Bluebonnets wildflower from years past.

Ride em if ya go em!