I was born in Illinois. I learned the state song, and my favorite place in Illinois was my grandparents' farm. And while we were taught all about Lincoln and how Illinois was settled, there was not the sovereign statehood that is Texas.
When my family moved to Houston when I was in high school, we soon learned the pride, the size, the variety, and all that means Texas. Since Texas was its own country for ten years, and since Texas was violently wrenched and painfully purchased with the blood of patriots, Texas celebrates its independence each year on March 2nd with reverence and awe. The Alamo is mourned, and the Battle of San Jacinto celebrated.
I am one of those yankees who got here as fast as I could. And since I have married a Texan and given birth to three Texans, my heart is here. Texas is where I learned to drive. Texas is where I have been married for almost thirty years.
But, the transplanted Illinois state flowers---the purple wood violets in my yard decide to bloom in what is now our Texas spring. Over the years, the birds gave me the hardier white variety of the violets. And I baby the patch of violets by the front door by watering them and keeping them free of the oak leaves. In the independent irony that is Texas, the lone plants sprinkled throughout the yard that don't get babied are the ones that bloomed first. A white flower with a tinge of purple--in the rock walls precariously perched yet hardy as all get out. White blooms kissed with purple over by the tree. I wondered if the patch I baby were ever going to bloom. I think they were shamed into it.
Happy Birthday Texas. The Lone Star State. And by-thy-rivers-gently-flowing, Illinois, Illinois--soon your purple violets will be blooming. Spring is coming. The robins migrate through here and chose to stay up there. I think I saw one today.