Saturday, July 04, 2009

I Saw Trees!

Martha, my beloved diehard desert dweller, was in Pennsylvania this week—Nazareth, Bethlehem, Easton—on business. As a high-powered accountant for the company where she works, she had the high-powered task of observing the counting of inventory at the Nazareth storage yard: thousands of pieces-parts that make up forms for pouring cement. Can you say high-powered glamorousness?

While the job part was a bummer, she told me all about some really nifty things she saw:

1. Hills! You know, the kind where you start at the bottom, climb a grade, reach the apex, and then descend on the other side. On the way back you do the same exact thing, only backward.

2. Trees! BIG old trees (oaks? maples? chestnuts?) that make beautiful canopies over two-lane byways. A lot of HUGE evergreens too.

3. Green! See number 2, plus add lawns, parks, ivy and other climbers, bushes, hedges, and weeds. Green doesn’t apply to desert dirt, which is pretty close to Crayola color #2,356, "dirt."

4. Rain! She woke up around two a.m. to a pounding rainstorm, something that occurs in the desert about twice a year and for three minutes or less in duration. She laid there listening and loving it until the rhythm lulled her back to sleep.

5. Fog! What fun, driving through thick mist while looking for street signs and landmarks that no longer existed which would lead her to the work site she’d never been to.

6. Wal-Mart! An emergency stop between the Allentown airport and the hotel in Easton upon her arrival. The temperature was somewhat below 95°, so she was frozen to the bone and needed a jacket with a hood. She never took it off until she arrived back in Phoenix where she could finally warm up.

Geographic shock: noticing things that the residents of northeast PA take for granted because they see them every day. Like established neighborhoods. Houses with covered porches for sitting and rocking. Houses that have more than one story. No cheap-ass stucco. Streetlights. The little things.

Martha doesn’t want to live there—one winterish day would do her in—but because she was told New Jersey was just six miles to the east of Easton.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad Martha enjoyed her trip to PA. She just didn't go far enough---up here, we are a comfortable distance from NJ, and all those other things are still true!

Meg said...

I like stucco. But all the houses in desert suburbia look the same.

Mary Witzl said...

Boy, some people get all the glamor. I've got whole classrooms full of pouting teenagers and Martha gets to swan around counting bits of concrete. Is that fair?

I feel like she must, though: I've gone from a land of glaring sun and stucco to a whole world of tangled wet green with hills and mists. I'm just hoping I'll be sick of it by the time we have to go back.

Lady_Amanda said...

Hey there,
I had a similar experience to Martha. I grew up in Chicago so when I came to Upstate New York and saw all the green things and mountains, I just fell in love. However, unlike Martha, I did want to live here and for seven years now I become an "converted" country girl. Even today I walked in the park with a friend and just marveled at the beauty of it.

However, you know, I have never been to the desert. My cousin has a winter home in AZ and I plan to visit there. Let's hope I don't decide to move there. LOL.

Thanks Professor for the comic side of different parts of the country.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Damn that New Jersey - keeps ruining everything for everyone! On the other hand, at least you got your Martha back.

Kim Ayres said...

It's an alien world out there Charlie. You do well to just listen to the travellers' tales

Attila The Mom said...

snarf. Glad to hear she came home. ;-)

Charlie said...

LW3: Martha did enjoy PA, and it's too bad you didn't get to meet. Her next trip, probably in November, will be either Seattle or Toronto.

MEG: All look alike? For the first six months we lived here, M. would pull in the driveway, push the garage door opener, and nada. Turns out she kept going to the house next door.

If you like stucco, you're welcome to ours.

MARY: I'm sorry you have to go back and leave your friends in Scotland.

LA: I grew up on the banks of Lake Ontario (Rochester), and spent summers in the Adirondacks and around Lake George. I know what you're talking about when it comes to beauty in upstate NY.

BARBARA: NJ might not be too bad if the gangs and the Mafia didn't own it. And yes, M. got home safely.

KIM: You're right. I should just stay here in my cave and wait for the travelling storytellers and minstrels to come by. It's too bad that books and iPods put them out of business.

MOM: FYI, Martha couldn't wait to get home and see me. Or maybe that was see the dogs . . .

Wandering Coyote said...

...In other words, CIVILIZATION!