This month’s cover is an homage to the well-known Lady Bird Johnson quote, “Where wildflowers bloom, so does hope.” This spring, perhaps more than any in recent memory, we are in need of the hope and optimism of the season. Throughout this magazine’s 48-year history, hundreds of pages have been devoted to wildflowers—from where to find them, to how to identify and grow them, to photo spreads splashed with their beauty. But heading into a wildflower season knowing more than 36,000 of our fellow Texans have died from a pandemic over the past year called for something different. And who better to write authentically and eloquently about loss and rebirth, grief and hope, than a poet?
While Austin-based poet ire’ne lara silva has written about mortality and grief throughout her career, she explains, “The pandemic inspired a laser focus on thoughts about death and the afterlife.” The Rio Grande Valley native had her own brush with COVID-19 immediately after turning in the first draft of this month’s cover story, which explores the expansion of green cemeteries and the way nature can comfort us in difficult times. Thankfully, she recovered after a tough 10-day battle. “I am still suffused daily with gratitude,” silva says. “It was a gift to write this story, to speak fear with beauty and memory, and to find peace knowing where my body will rest—though hopefully not for many decades!”
However you choose to mark the changing of seasons, you can find our favorite wildflower stories from our archives and updates on this season’s forecast at texashighways.com/wildflowers. While you’re there, don’t miss our new Guide to Camping in Texas. Along with a searchable database of every public campground in the state, you’ll find tips and recommendations for backpacking, canoeing, tent camping, RV trips, and glamping. Beyond the promise of mild temperatures, spring camping offers some of the best views of the season’s blooms.
Emily Roberts Stone
Editor In Chief