Madrones and Memories

There are two of you red barked madrones near the Emma Lowe Country Stream, a peaceful area on the grounds of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Your bark is a deep, brick red. The gurgling, perpetual stream runs down hill from you and along side your paler barked sibling. Did Lady Bird know you as a child?

Texas Madrone ,Arbutus xalapensis (A. texana) Ericaceae, Heath Family

I move closer to you. Your cream colored blooms are just past their prime. Your green leaves are so heavenly soft to stroke.

Your curving, delicate, yet strong, branches take me back to drives in the hill country outside Austin. My Dad, at the wheel, is proud to point you out. “Look kids! A Madrone!” You were on a hillside to the right of the steep road leaving town. Are you still there? Or were you chopped down to make room for a driveway into a subdivision. You are not common here. But, you are the more valuable to me for being such a rare sight.

Seeing you always brings back the happier memories of being with my Dad. But, you also bring me sadness for these past times. I love you and I will remember.

(Photos by Betty McCreary)

Fact Source: A Field Guide To Wildflowers Trees & Shrubs of Texas by Delena Tull and George Oxford Miller (Texas Monthly Field Guide Series)

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bettymccreary7347

Born and raised in Central Texas. Spending time outside brings me joy and I love to share my observations. I also belong to two writing groups and enjoy researching my ancestors. I find people interesting, but Nature keeps me sane.

12 thoughts on “Madrones and Memories”

  1. Beautiful and stirring. Wish it weren’t such a drive to the Wildflower Center – or maybe the wish is that I could make myself go anyhow? Each year I seem to have less “go”ness than the prior. I could take some duration lessons from those madrones, huh?

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  2. Thanks VJ! I think these are mostly in southern/western areas and into Mexico. I know there is a type in California…but the Texas ones were one of the first trees I remembering being aware of because of my Dad pointing them out.

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  3. Lovely images. I did visit the Lady Bird center in 2012 while at a SCN conference (first time in Austin) and remember many beautiful plants. I have a feeling of peace from reading about your with the trees and your memories. I also feel a connection as my much loved Dad died 9 years ago yesterday. Thank you.

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  4. Such sweet memories, Betty.  Thank youI wish I had known your father.  I’m sitting at my table watching the big rain fall on everything.  I’m so grateful, but also that it will be back to sunshine tomorrow and I can put my hands in the soil again. Take good care, Mary

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  5. This is lovely Betty. I am reminded of the madrones growing just off of the southmost end of Puerto Rico where I saw large lizards called Gila monsters. They are not dangerous unless molested and they sleep in the madrone trees at night. I was on a boat ride there with our guide pointing to them with his flashlight. Then we rode on directly under those branches without incident. I did not know that the little stream on the WF Center’s property was an actual stream.
    This makes me want to linger near it on the benches even longer than I have in the past. Thank you for this information and for the memories it brought back to me.

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  6. Thanks Joan! Interesting info about your seeing them in another area.
    I think the stream near the madrones at the Wildflower Center probably is pump driven…but
    I do not know for sure.

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