Sunday, August 19, 2012

East Coast vs West

As I was sifting through images this morning, this was the one that called to me; the one that made my heart swell.  As usual, I suspect it's something about the light... And the fact that it calls to mind memories of wonderful visits with my friends in Vermont.  When I look at this picture I can almost feel the warmth and humidity of an early morning sun in June; almost hear the crickets chirping in the fields... and echoes of my childhood. 

I grew up in the south, midwest, and east, surrounded by deciduous trees.  And though we have deciduous trees in the Northwest, they are gravely outnumbered by cedar and fir, which don't filter sunlight in the same splotchy sort of way.

We also don't get as many sunny days, and though you might think there's a lot of humidity here, living on the water with all the rain -- well, it's not true.  Not that it's dry, exactly, it's just sort of... perfect.  It's very easy to breathe here.

I actually don't know if we have crickets, but I'm not sure I've heard them here.  We do get tree frogs -- and the sound they make is sweet and high, like that of the crickets -- but it's not quite the same.

Having now spent half my life on each coast, I can't really say one coast is better than the other: each has its own unique and marvelous advantages; each its trials and tribulations.  So, given an affinity for both, how do we choose to live?  We could spend our time here missing the crickets, the autumn leaves, and the seemingly bottomless supply of sunshine while complaining about the gray and the rain.  Or we could spend our time there missing the lap of the waves, the height of the trees, the scent of salt air and the snow on the mountains while complaining about the heat and humidity, the bugs, and the bitter cold of the winters.

Or we could spend our time -- wherever we are -- rejoicing in what is and smiling at the memories of what was, allowing the counterpoint of light and dark in images and memories and weather to fill our hearts with a tender song of longing and then just -- let it go.

My husband saw a great bumper sticker in the Safeway parking lot earlier this week: "Just say no to negativity!" We were both amused by it, and thinking about it later, it's clear the humor lies in the negativity of the statement.  On the other hand, "Say yes to joy!" would be way too Pollyanna-ish for us former East-Coasters to comfortably place on our car.  Somehow, as in this image, there needs to be a balance, a harmony of deep dark bass notes and the light high song of the crickets.  It's the wholeness of the picture, like the wholeness of experience, that feeds us.

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