Oh, what a difference a year makes! On year ago yesterday, I was admitted to the hospital after a severe bleeding episode. I was about 33 weeks pregnant and NOT ready to deliver CJ. A year ago tomorrow, I was released, but with strict orders to stay in bed unless I was up going to the bathroom. After about a week in bed, my doctors thought it best to take CJ by c-section, 4-1/2 weeks before his due date. Following his birth, we were in the NICU for 2 weeks before being sent home with little CJ on a heart/lung monitor. I barely left the house.
What does this have to do with bluebonnets? Well, a lot, really. I love bluebonnets. I always have. I have pictures of myself in college playing in the bluebonnets in the hilltops surrounding St Edward’s. I have always taken pictures of them until they are withered up and dead for the year. Every spring, I almost get into accidents looking for the first blooms of the season, then almost kill myself throughout the season in search of the best patch. So, 2010 found me in the hospital for close to a month. The month of April. Bluebonnet season. I missed the entire thing. Didn’t get a single picture of my kids sitting amongst the blossoms. I took one picture of a bluebonnet in the parking lot of the hospital with my cell phone. Sad.
So when the forecast this year was for a weak bluebonnet season, I was crushed. No pictures AGAIN. (Insert super sad face here.) I still craned my neck while driving, hoping to find the perfect patch, but after the reports of less than average bluebonnets after a drier than usual year, I was resigned to the fact that there would be no pictures. Again.
And then I saw it. The PERFECT patch. But it was on private property. So I mustered my courage (after driving by about a thousand times) and knocked on the door. The owner was polite and kind, and said that I was welcome to take pictures of my kids on her property. So, a few days later, my partner in crime (and fellow photographer) traipsed out with our kids and took pictures. The images I got were less than what I’d expected, so I cajoled my hub and kids into going out again.
Once we were finished, the owner came out and talked to me. She thanked me for asking permission to use her field, but she was closing the gates. Apparently, too many people had taken the liberty of using her property without permission. She told me people had allowed their kids to run wild on her property and people were trampling bluebonnets at all hours of the day and night. Because bluebonnet patches are known to hide all sorts of things (um, like rattlesnakes) she was concerned about liability. She also works from home, so the constant distraction of trespassers and doorbell ringers (like me) had finally driven her to the breaking point. She’d had enough. I thanked her profusely for allowing me to use her field, and she locked the gate behind me.
I am sure that people will still climb the fence and unchain the gate, but I am happy that I didn’t do that. I’m happy that I had the courage to ask permission, and I’m happy that she said yes (she told me that she does not allow professional photographers to conduct shoots for money on her property– she even turned down three brides this spring). And most of all, I am happy that I have pictures of my smiling kids among the bluebonnets this year!
I hope that if you are looking for a patch, that you find one, and that you are respectful not only of the flowers, but of the people who own them. Happy bluebonnet season, y’all! I can’t wait to see what pictures everyone got this year!