Thirty-nine years, six months, and 17 days ago, I left California where I had grown up and moved to Kentucky. It was January 1975 and California had been green, rainy with roses blooming. Kentucky was cold, dreary and gray. But three months later spring came to Kentucky, and with it the miraculous abundance of green, growing things.
Nearly four decades later (some of which were spent in Pennsylvania and Virginia before I found my way back to Kentucky), and I never cease to be amazed by the exuberance verdancy of eastern woods, forest, fields, roadsides, yards, empty lots, etc. Indeed any tiny open space in which something might grow, things DO grow.
People who have lived here all their lives do not appreciate how different this is from the western part of the United States. And people who live in the western states fail to realize how different life is when green growing things can actually flourish without attention and even threaten to take over your home and yard without constant vigilance.
Currently the entire state of California is in advanced stages of long term drought - severe, extreme or even exceptional drought. The image below is from May 2013; before the drought these hills would have still been green. ( http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/RegionalDroughtMonitor.aspx?west)
But even long before the current drought, California was a place where substantial diligence was required to grow things. For a lawn to grow, a yard had to be carefully seeded and watered regularly every year in perpetuity. Our Kentucky lawn (pictured at top) was completely dug up last July for a new septic system, the dirt bulldozed back in place, a few grass seeds were scattered, but no other attention was paid - only rain, sunshine and nature operated on the yard. This summer it is as if the construction never took place.
Every spring and summer, we must continually beat back the forest to keep it from swallowing our home. Already the pathway and gate that used to lead from our property to the neighbors has been completely enveloped in new trees and shrubs. It is both beautiful and awesome in its fecundity.