Leon Hale's beautiful quote on wildflowers, Mason, Fredericksburg, the Hill Country, and beans
This Texas Quote comes from the inimitable Leon Hale:
"The prettiest wildflowers I've seen this spring along a highway are between Fredericksburg and Mason. It's a great year for prickly pear white poppies. On that Fredericksburg-Mason highway the poppies sometimes make the pastures look like fields of open cotton. The best Bluebonnets I've seen are growing in a place I never expected them, and in one sense that's too bad because very few folks will get to enjoy them. They're blooming in an outrageous way along several miles of a dirt road west and south of Mason. It's the county road we use to reach our James River campsite here on the Schulze Ranch.
I grew up on land like this, but I never before saw rocky, brushy hillsides covered with Bluebonnets. Blossoms so thick they seem artificial. The color in places is so intense the land seems to heave in blue and white and pink waves. I wish you could see it.
We've been coming here.on the James River for several years. Right now we are four. The others are off fishing, and I won't see them until the pinto beans are done. I volunteered to stay in camp and cook beans this morning. I pretended it was a sacrifice, but the truth is I needed the solitude to get this report done. Also I like being here, cooking beans and listening to the music of the river and the birds and the wind. I feel good here.
I have invested a lot of myself into these beans. I want them to be good. I want them to be bragged on. I want somebody to say "Best beans ever cooked on a river bank and stirred with a screwdriver." I may say that myself if nobody else does. I am fixing way too many beans. Four pounds, dry weight. But I brought my great restaurant-kitchen pot, and you can't, with any good grace, cook two cups of beans in a pot that big. Two cups would insult it. The beans are coming along, but they lack something. Wish I had an onion about the size of a Pecos cantaloupe.
Did I mention the yucca blooms? They are on the face of the cliff across the river from camp. From a distance they give the image of big creamy white faces, staring out of the brush. We are talking about a plant sometimes 14 inches tall, making a cluster of flowers 2 feet long and 10 inches wide. From this rock I count ninety-three of them across the river.
The beans are getting better, but they still lack character. I am thinking about pouring two cups of red wine in them. What do you think?"
----- Leon Hale, Texas Chronicles, 1989. I ask y'all this question: has anybody written about the soul of Texas any better than Leon Hale did over the years?
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.