Every spring, the guessing begins anew. Will the bluebonnets bloom in profusion? Where will they be best viewed? Will they cover the hillsides, or be sprinkled only in the roadsides and other isolated areas? How long will the blooms last, and will the other wildflowers fill in quickly?
It's anyone's guess each year as to what the spring will offer. During January and February, you can find the bluebonnet plants showing their greenery all over; but, one never knows if they will finally produce blooms, or simply fade back into the landscape. Calls flood in to the Chamber office and to our office, all wanting to know - - "Is this a good year?"
With the incidence of winter rainfall, and the freezing temperatures, one would normally predict 2013 to be a potentially good year for the blossoms. Rainfall at this time of year won't change the bluebonnet forecast too much; but, can be vital in bringing out the paint brushes, blankets, daisies, blue bells and more.
I always have a bit of regret on those years when the display is less than stunning. For some reason, I seem to take it very personally when folks come to Mason County to enjoy the beauty, only to find sparse offerings. Obviously, I have no control over the display; but, I feel horrible that people have arrived in our home expecting so much, only to see so little.
Perhaps they're not looking at enough!
They can spend time in town enjoying our beautiful old architecture. The wonderful rockwork, the weathered awnings and the stately trees provide their own beautiful image of our home. Or, taking in the river and it's enfolding canyons can be breathtaking. The beautiful, multicolored rock standing above the turquoise-colored water is a postcard-worthy image of its own. Even the people are part of the scenery. Battered and stained cowboy hats atop the heads of the ranchers and farmers of Mason County evoke their own western panorama.
Early settlers saw the landscape in times of drought and times of flood, and they found a beauty in both times. There were lush fields of prairie grass out north, thick timber along the river bottoms and rolling hills between. Include the deer, fox, birds, and other wildlife, and a whole new vista opens up to the work-weary eyes of those early pioneers.
The colors of spring are an important aspect of our attraction. Those images change drastically from year to year, never fully repeating what has come before, and always promising something new in the future. However, it is only one of the seasons in the Mason landscape.
In the summer, the sky turns almost white under a blazing sun and the landscape fades to brown when the rains don't arrive. In the fall, plenty of local flora offers changing color to indicate the passing of the year. And, there are winters where snow dusts the trees and hillsides of the county, completely altering the image in a rare and surprising way.
We must be willing to share with visitors the potential of our landscape beyond just the springtime blossoms. It is up to all of us to explain what we see from day to day, month to month, season to season. By explaining the beauty that we've found as residents, we help them to understand that we are not just one time of year or one aspect of view. Just like the people that have chosen to make Mason their home, the bounty of our natural resources offer chances to find beauty each and every day.
Keep your eyes open and look for the beauty that surrounds you today, at this very moment. Look at the quality of the light, the subtlety of the colors, the patterns of the shadows. You will find that beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it is also in the hearts and minds.
It’s all just my opinion.