Today I took a walk with poison ivy, hemlock, and wild geraniums.
Don't worry, I wore jeans.
I'm in Iowa with my son, visiting my mother. After Arizona, the world here seems painted in green. Green grass, green trees, green everything but the houses and skies. Sometimes, in the years since I left the more verdant climes, I have paused to wonder if I might like to be in a greener place.
I remember the womb-like depth of the woods were I grew up. I remember the welcome arms of that place, disguised as hickory branches, and oak and maple branches. I remember that place with love. It was green from its roots to its canopy. All shades of green with beautiful brown bark streaking through and flecks of blue sky trying to peek in from above. Beautiful, lovely, intimate. I miss that place.
But oddly, I don't miss the world being painted in green. And that is surprising. Isn't that the refrain - "oh I love the weather in Arizona, but I miss the green of ____ (insert non-desert place here)." It's so common, you don't even have to say the whole phrase to be understood by a fellow transplant. But it feels a little hollow to me. I wondered if maybe I didn't miss the green, after all.
Being here, surrounded as I am by greenery, I miss the many colors of the desert. I miss the variety. I don't want my vision tinted any one color, be it green, brown, or even rose.
I don't miss being surrounded by green.
But green is a sign of life! I hear myself argue. But in the desert, there is just as much life as there is here, if you know how to see it.
If your glasses don't wash the world with a single hue.