We call them squatters. Who are they? They can be anyone, your neighbor, people from out of town, foreigners, legal and illegal aliens, the young, the old, … anyone. They usually travel in groups of two or three, but sometimes, entire carloads come and join in the squatting. They always come the same time every year, without missing a beat. They come, they look, they squat, and after what seems like an eternity of 20 to 30 minutes, they finally get up and leave.

These squatters ALWAYS have their cameras. There are those who just use their iPhones, to those with full-fledge cameras and fancy lenses costing thousands of dollars.  And they are always squatting, to get that perfect shot or their dog, their cat, the local longhorn steers, their children, their families, anything that might seem interesting. They shoot, and shoot, and shoot.

Usually, once you have squatted, unless there is a new arrival of a baby, a puppy, or the image of Jesus in a spider web, you are content with previous squatting sessions. The reason: after the squatting sessions, the pictures are all pretty much the same. A new season, doesn’t necessarily bring new and interesting photos. In fact, as one who has squatted in the past, I never had the pictures I took developed. They just sit deep inside my computer on the hard drive (and the back up hard drive along with a copy in the bowels of Carbonite.com). I drag them out every now and then to remind myself that I don’t need to got squatting even though this season of squatting has lasted longer than usual. It will pass in a week or two, and people along the roadsides will disappear. They will quit pulling over trying to find that perfect field full of the objects of their affections.

What are they looking for? That perfect picture of something with the bluebonnets. I get the fact that they are beautiful and rare. Since they only last two or three weeks, that makes each season of bluebonnets special. Since they are unique to Texas, it makes it uniquely Texas.

When the bluebonnets first arrived, I was tempted to get a few shots of the bluebonnets. But then I realized, “Hey, I live here. Don’t embarrass your folks.” In other words, don’t act like a squatter, someone passing through this hidden hill country of Washington County. Take it like you live here. Enjoy them. Don’t cut them down and trust that they will be back again next year, like always.

Then I realized I needed to dig up a few shots taken when I was… a squatter. Enjoy.




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