Wednesday, April 21, 2010


When I was 16, my parents went to New Mexico to paint a friend's house- kind of a working vacation. I got bored and they thought I'd enjoy it too, so they flew me out to join them. It was summer, the "wet season" where there was a pretty predictable gentle rainstorm every afternoon at 2 pm.

The land looked completely alien to me. Warm tan hills, with rocks and scrubby grey bushes. The locals all kept talking about how green it was, and it was like they weren't speaking the same language as me. Green was back home, green was an explosion of bright sun-dappled verdant jungle lushness. These brown hills with the grey shrubs weren't even in the same ballpark. I didn't understand how anybody could live in such a weird barren place.

I have no idea why 16 year old me thought New Mexico was so gross and brown while 31 year old me loved Nevada at first sight. They look pretty much the same, except Nevada is more extreme - bigger hills, better mountains framing the view, higher elevation.

Also, we have passed the point where only the natives would think it's green here. The sagebrush is respectably green - kind of spring green with a greyish tint. There's grass everywhere! All the little brown hills look like they've been Astroturfed. I know it'll all burn up soon, but man it's gorgeous now!

Tomorrow: Yellow!


  1. oh man it's so green here in the southern Idaho desert right now it's crazy! much of it is weeds, but still - almost makes me think of Ireland! well OK not THAT much, but it is shocking.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  2. That's a lot like Australia. Tasmania is the only place where "green" is actually green. In all other places it ranges from brown to gray to army drab.

  3. please take a picture of green nevada! i cannot imagine it: )

    funnily, when i first moved to wuppertal, germany, the locals said, "isn't it GREEN here?"

    and my man quickly said, "she comes from the Evergreen State. she isn't impressed by our oak woods."

    western washington is green yearround due to its lack of deciduous trees.

    at least the grass stays green here all year. the trees are still all naked and brown.

    you've got some spectacular landscape there from what i see on your blog.


  4. lytha is right, there aren't many places on the planet that are GREENER than our own dear Swampland: our grass is green. our trees are green. our lakes are green. our frogs are green. our faces are....

    Well. You know.

  5. It is amazing how perspectives change between 16 and 31. As one gets older and wiser, I think that one finds beauty and goodness in more places, or different places anyway. It's a kind of sophistication that one gains.

    I saw the true desert first aged around 40. It was, as T E Lawrence said, "clean". Raw places are clean in a peculiar sort of way. Perhaps because of how readily they cleanse themselves of humans.

  6. Here in the "shrub-steppe" region of Washington (the dry side), the native landscape is also basically the grey-green of sage. But, thanks to late 19th/early 20th century ingenuity, the "bowl" of our little valley is lush with irrigated hay fields. Your personal environment is determined on whether you live "above the ditch" or "below the ditch."


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