08 July 2006

40 Shades of...Yellow and Brown?

I'm currently at my family's vacation home in the Catskills, as I have been every July since 2002. And every July that we have been coming here (since 2000), I have been amazed that everything is green. I mean I look out the window, and not only are the trees green, but the grass is green. It's not even a lawn! We don't have a sprinkler system! (Everything is black now, of course, because it's midnight and there are no street lights. I'll take a good look at the stars now, because I won't see much of them in L.A.)

This is truly astonishing to a California girl. Wikipedia says that California is called "The Golden State" because of the gold rush, and not because of the "golden" hills covered with yellowish-brown dead grass in the summer. I don't believe Wikipedia on that one. My mother has a friend here who has never been to the West Coast in the summer, and she did not believe us that the grass is not green in summer, so we had to take a picture for her. She probably still doesn't believe us.

Some people moved in next door to us in Napa a few years back. They were from Minnesota. They did not understand in-ground sprinkler systems. They planted things where there was no sprinkler, and then went around scratching their heads when the poor plant withered and died. They dug holes and cut the sprinkler lines, leaving a mess for the next occupants of the house to clean up. My mom, who has always lived in California and has a green thumb (and fingers, sometimes extending past the wrist), attempted to explain, but they never really got it. It doesn't usually rain in California in the summer, unless you live in one of those weird rainforesty spots where the average rainfall is about twice that of Seattle (we used to have a cabin in Lake County where it rained 110 inches a year or something). So, we water our lawns. But in New York, it rains, and no one seems to have sprinklers, but miraculously, all is green.

I think that's a big part of why my parents wanted to buy a place here, even though lots of people thought them a little crazy. It's tons of fun to come and see green stuff when all at home is brown, but also to have our own little bit of home here in East Durham.

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