Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Bluebonnets are here!

It is Holi today in India, the Festival of Colours! This festival is celebrated by throwing coloured powder and coloured water over others, lots of dancing, and good food as always.

In the south of India where I grew up, Holi wasn't celebrated with as much fervor as it is in the northern parts of India. Several stories exist for the origin of this festival, and each one is very interesting. They all have one ending in common though, that it is the celebration of the victory of good over evil.

Traditionally, natural colours and powders were used for the festivities; the bright yellow of turmeric, the brilliant red of kumkum, the healing green of neem, and so on.

Since the change of seasons in the spring usually brings with it colds and other viral infections, this was possibly a way by which people invoked the protective powers of these Ayurvedic herbs to arm them against the germs.

The synthetic powders that have replaced the natural ones to some extent these days are toxic, so it might be wise to go back to the old ways of celebrating Holi!

To celebrate this Festival of Colours, I give you some bright natural colours from Austin. :)




Spring is here! Though spring in Austin is definitely not as much of an explosion of colour as spring in other cities, it does have its own fleeting charm, which I am slowly beginning to appreciate. We lived in Atlanta before moving here, and I loved spring there. I think that part of the country has the most vibrant spring ever, and will do a separate post on that. But in Austin, though one has to look more closely, the beauty is definitely there.

The redbuds were the first to bloom. Their bright pink petals contrasting beautifully with the silver grey bark. This tree in my neighbor's yard was at its peak last week when I took the picture, but is already fading.



Cactus flowers have started to appear.



And so have other small flowers in my front yard - not sure what kind these are.


The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and grows in small bunches close to the ground. Their little heads are already nodding along the highways on the grass, and the open spaces are starting to shimmer with a blue haze. Soon we will see them everwhere. It's such a pity that they don't last very long.




More colour is yet to come, before the heat of summer really sets in. I'll leave you with a sample of pictures I took last year, during late spring. This is what we can look forward to.








Happy Holi, everyone!

30 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Lovely colors, though so brief.

My sister is staying in the place you recommended in Brazil - just that little extra bit of reassurance is nice to have.

Srividya said...

Spring already ! Well the crocuses and tulips are just poking through the ground here.

pink dogwood said...

Happy Holi!! - I can hardly wait till it becomes like this over here :)

Blu said...

adorable flowers.........those poppies amazing

Compassion Unlimitted said...

nice post ,natures way of playing Holi with the bright & colourful flowers !!
TC
CU

Sydney said...

Happy Holi to you.


You really are a talented photographer!!!!! I know you are talented at many many things, but I wonder if you've ever considered selling your work.

My husband took me to see the bluebonnet fields when I first moved here. It IS a shame it's all so fleeting. What a happy post, leaves us all with a good feeling.

Sydney said...

By total coincidence, one of the photo blogs I follow is all about India (and the second post down if you click today is on Holi). The blogger lives in NYC but just went to India for a few weeks trip. Thought you might enjoy taking a look

http://elizabeth-aboutnewyork.blogspot.com/

Shalini said...

Happy Holi to you too! These are a beautiful set of photos.

LadyFi said...

Happy Holi day to you too!

Love the fields of blue bonnets and poppies! Gorgeous.

We are still buried under snow here in Sweden!

~ ॐ ~ said...

what a riot of colors... loved it !!!


Oh and a bit of correction, Holi does not mark the arrival of spring. The first day of the spring is marked by a festival called Vasant (Basant) Panchami.

bindu said...

ArtSparker - I hope she likes it there!

Vidya - early spring means early onset of summer heat ...

bhavana - spring lasts a little longer up where you are too!

Blu, CU, Shalini - thanks.

Sydney - the link was interesting. Thanks for the compliment. :) I haven't ever tried to sell any of my work. It would be cool to do that though. Any ideas?

LadyFi - would love to see some snowscapes from Sweden. I'll go over to your blog for that!

Om - thanks. I've made the correction!

meb said...

I'm in agreement with Sydney... you should consider offering your pictures for sale. I recently bought some pictures of flowers photographed by an acquaintance of mine. They are so beautiful, I want to make a collage of them for my bedroom/over my desk so I can enjoy them everyday.

Thanks for the colorful journey.

Chandan said...

Some awesome shots there Bindu, love the Poppies. Beautiful..

3rdEyeMuse said...

beautiful photographs, Bindu! I especially like the cactus flower as I spent long times in AZ and was always amazed when cacti had a serious blooming season - incredible in that sea of browns, browns and ashy looking browns. :)

thanks for flashes of brightness!

and happy belated Holi!

Chris said...

Happy Holi Bindu! Thanks for a peak at your beautiful spring. Wonderful shots of local flowers. Redbuds are my favorite spring flowering tree.

Nancy and the fatties said...

Hi Bindu - I feel like a spring breeze is blowing my way, looking at all these beautiful images. I sure hope this blast of Texas rain brings us extra bluebonnets this spring - I had no idea the red poppies were so plentiful down there around Austin, do you remember where you took those photos? Someday I would love to paint en plein air in a field of red poppies, a dream of mine!
hugs to you from north texas...

Indrani said...

Holi welcomes the Spring...and you have presented such beautiful flowers. Lovely post.

painter girl said...

Oh! The field of blue took my breath away...and the the field of red! What a gift to be able to walk up on such a sight. Lovely post!
Can't wait to see what else you share with us this spring.

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

Oh Bindu. I LOVE your photos. I adore poppies, they almost do for me what sunflowers do. There's something so TRANSIENT about them. Don't you think? That post was so interesting. I love posts that tell me stuff I never knew before. I love your blog. I'm in danger of gushing, better stop:) I am known for my gushing, sorry, it can be a bit too much, I know.....xx

Karine said...

Happy Holi to you, too! What a fun post. I love flowers. I think you are ahead of us a little, in Austin. Our cactus are not blooming yet. I am waiting with bated breath!

GMG said...

Hi Bindu!
Happy Holi!!
The flowers are lovely and the colours superb!! I think I should also change my template to a black background; looks much more lively whay you post... ;)

Meanwhile Blogtrotter has Akbar’s capital city for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

bindu said...

Meb - thanks for your vote of confidence. It inspires me to follow up on Sydney's suggestion.

Chandan, Chris - thanks.

3rdEyeMuse - I want to go to west texas when the wild cacti are in bloom, but am afraid of the heat later in the summer ...

Nancy - the poppy and bluebonnet field pictures were taken at Wildseed Farm which is about an hour from here.

Indrani, Painter Girl - thanks!

Henry's Mum - so glad you like it! I gush everyday about how much I enjoy reading Henry's posts. :)

Karine - I'll wait to see pictures of them on your blog when they arrive in CA. One of my potted cacti is blooming. I think it's still early though.

GMG - thanks for stopping by!

Vamsee said...

Great pictures....and a great post. I love the way how you brought the festival of colors and the colors of spring together in the post.

Was in Austin one spring and loved the red poppies and blue bonnets.

~vagabond~ said...

A happy holi to you too!
No sign of bright, happy flowers here yet but with the sunshine finally peeking out of the clouds today, I'm hoping spring is here as well! :)

T and S said...

Spectacular array of colors. You surely announced Holi and spring loud and clear. I specially like that image of the countless red colored flowers

pink dogwood said...

an award for you on my blog :)

Robyn said...

The Bluebonnets are very pretty (I love blue flowers!) Our national flower is the Protea.

Phoenix said...

Super fabulous photos.. and such a nice post on Holi!

Mridula said...

Lovely lovely pictures. It is already summer here I must say.

Barbara Martin said...

Wonderful photos, especially the poppies. Such colour!