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A Plea to Stop Staging Roadside Bluebonnet Photo Shoots




photo by Mike Billington

Springtime in Texas is characterized by tolerable temperatures, replenishing thunderstorms and roadsides awash in color. Bluebonnet season is upon us, the time of year the entire state looks like a Blue Bell Ice Cream commercial. Highways are bordered by motley displays of picturesque natural beauty.

The annual bluebonnet bloom is definitely a sight to behold, but that doesn’t mean families should don their Sunday best only to pull over to the side of the highway and splay themselves across a smashed bed of wildflowers to create photographic memories.

Seriously, stop it.

Every year, parents place their children in peril for the quintessential Texas photo opportunity. Drivers recognize these photo shoots as commonplace. They see a giant SUV haphazardly parked on the side of the highway, and thoughts begin to race in their head.

“OMG! Are they stranded? Do they need to call AAA? Is Leatherface on a murderous rampage? Are they dead?”

The answer is always no. They’re just a bunch of amateur Thomas Kinkades staging portraits of manufactured familial bonding, and they look ridiculous trampling over a Texas treasure and posing on the side of the road.

Is it really worth traipsing over a piece of Texas’ natural heritage to create memories for little Ashleigh and Kody? Is it so important that these staged photos be taken that you must risk your children’s lives? Chilling on the side of the road is not exactly safe, so says the experts. All it takes is one out of control Chevy Silverado to ruin memories forever. Also, did everyone forget that rattlesnakes exist and that they bite and it hurts?

If one must document springtime by dressing their kids in white shirts and blue jeans there are safer options. Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden or make a trip to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. It’s less idiotic, safety wise, and you look less like an idiot.

What’s the deal with bluebonnets anyway? Sure they are the state flower, but everyone knows that in the definitive ranking of Texas wildflowers that the bluebonnet has nothing on the Indian paintbrush.

But that’s neither here nor there. Just remember, if you have the urge to force your kid on the side of the road to take a picture with some flowers, don’t. Just don’t.

But if you want to take a bluebonnet picture with your dog, keep at it. It’s adorable. 

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