Starting with bluebonnets at Snyder, the wildflowers ran like spring floods to Sweetwater, Trent, Buffalo Gap and Abilene State Park. Being me, I did some birdwatching Friday and Saturday of a
slightly unorthodox kind, but along the roads and in the park there were cardinals, hawks, blue jays, mockingbirds, squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and deer giving me marvelous glimpses of the daily business they went about. Saturday, in spite of a determined overcast, other treats filled the sky:
Sunday we visited the ruins at Fort Phantom Hill, and both in those fields and coming home I was astounded all over again by the size and number of bluebonnet, buttercup, primrose, Indian blanket, and black-eyed Susan patches along the roads. Usually, to get that bright and varied and intense a display of wildflowers, you have to go to the Hill Country — Austin / San Antonio / Brenham. Not this year. It’s been wet since last fall, and the results are, in a word, glorious.
As in their way are the big wind farms sprouting up around Sweetwater, Snyder, and the hills around Dyess Air Force Base.
If you look at this U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Felicia Juenke, it almost seems like science fiction comes to life.
If you camp at the state park, the B-1B Lancers go over several times a day in training missions, preparing for their combat role in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s tough for me to believe this aircraft has been in service 25 years now, but it’s true.
It’s also the first USAF bomber to deliver a payload while flying on a mix of 50-50 synthetic and petroleum-based fuels.
I’d like to think the day will come when we don’t need bombers any more, but in the mean time I tip my hat to the folks in R&D in the military — the research they’re doing is leading the charge toward renewable and green energy for our national defense. If the trickle-down effect from that is anything like as good as it’s been from NASA, we may yet see the day when we can, in fact, stop drilling for oil, and spilling it in our waters and over our lands.