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Speed and poppies

Red poppy field at Wildseed Farm, Fredericksburg, Texas, April 2011.

This is a cultivated field of red poppies at the Wildseed Farms, Fredericksburg, Texas.  The farm planted about one acre of poppies.  In addition, several rows of lavender, gardens of roses and other plants form a most beautiful farm east of Fredericksburg.

The wildfires lifted and rains were predicted to fall on the ranch as I drove to Fredericksburg a few days ago.  The town thrived on German immigrants who came to America frustrated by the lack of progressive reform in Germany following the Revolutions of 1848 in Europe.  The townspeople, stockmen and farmers concluded lasting peace treaties with the Comanche and lived through Civil War conflict to establish a successful enclave of farming and stocktending in central Texas that endures today.

In Fredericksburg the main street broadens into four lanes of slow traffic and angled parking on both sides of the street like the large thoroughfares in Fort Collins, Colorado, or the wide boulevards of Paris.  As a boy, I always enjoyed the German bakeries in Fredericksburg and still find them sweet-scented and delicious.

Sunday houses abound in the town for farmers and their families who used to come in for the weekend to shop and attend church.  They are small, cottage-like dwellings.  Many appear to be a hundred-years-old, cisterns and fences placed neatly, but now leaning in age, about the houses.  The automobile with paved roads terminated Sunday-house lodging.  As a sign of the times, the farmer and stockman could speed to church or market and return within a day.

As I stood in the gardens of Wildseed Farms I looked out on the highway and saw cars and trucks speeding by the farm, by the poppies and the lavender.  I know that commerce and trade in this day and age must have the machine to carry the goods, but much is lost and never regained when a field of poppies goes unnoticed on bright Spring day.  I should like to think that the tanker trucks and minivans have drivers and passengers that at least glance, perchance slow, at the beauty of the countryside and make a promise to stop the next time and fill their senses with all that nature has to offer.  And, frankly, nature is abundant in gifts even if we don’t slow down.

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