Friday, March 17, 2006
Texas Crop Circles
Every year, the miraculous and inspiring beauty of the Texas wildflower springs forward, transforming the normally weary miles of interstate into a river of blues, pinks, reds, yellows and oranges. The memories of these scenic drives to me are enough to instantly transform an overcast visage to a sunny smile.
Streams of royal bluebonnets stirred gently by early spring breezes are as beautiful to a Texan as shamrocks to the Irish and cherry blossoms to any D.C. denizen.
As temperatures finally begin to warm, bringing with them the first cherry blossom season for me in DC, I eagerly await the arrival of these much talked about and lored blooms. Has the relentless hype jaded me? Have my memories of bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes created a bias against these transplanted Japanese cherry trees? Being a transplant myself, I feel a certain kinship, however, and suspect I will be able to find a place for another spring favorite in my mental scrapbook.
Camera at the ready, I am prepared to capture this highly anticipated event. In much the same way most travelers along those picturesque Texas highways cannot help but fancy themselves amateur photographers, and dream of possessing digital happiness for posterity, tourists and natives alike, I'm told, flock to the tidal basin each year for those few days of floral promise. Friends have warned me to expect few photos without a stranger's child, smiling grandmother, or reluctant spouse in them. Getting the trees alone, without several dangling imps, is next to impossible.
Still, I press on in hopes of capturing the beautiful and glorious sight that draws so many people each year, if not in a photo, then at least in my memories. The magic of these historical trees is legendary.
Today is St. Patrick's Day, which reminds me of another similarly revered spring arrival. Perhaps I'll spot a four-leaved clover with my camera too. What is it about these plants that so piques the imagination? Why so many stories of good fortune and good luck to those who find them?
As amazing and miraculous as the arrival of these beautiful blessings each year are the equally mysterious, but much less publicized, annual sightings of the "Texas Crop Circle". These oblong indentations-- patches of trampled and lifeless flowers among the otherwise thriving foliage-- continue to baffle curious passers-by. Every few miles or so, along any flowered path or highway, you'll find another of these strange egg-shaped voids.
How do they get there?
Who creates them?
Could they too be a sign of good luck and good fortune for those who find them? Or is there something more sinister about these flattened plots...
Scientists are stunned by this seemingly unexplainable phenomena.
Perhaps one day, if we're lucky, we will know the source of these mysterious orbs.