Monday, June 23, 2008

It's not easy being brown

I never really appreciated the wonder of green.

After two weeks in Mongolia, I just spent three days in Boston. Like the Sceptered Isle for which it is named, New England practically glows in its lushness (I think mere politics kept it from being New Ireland.)

Where Mongolia is dominated by the grays and browns of its gritty soil, Boston fills the eye with chlorophyll. Given my Britannic genes, it was like soaking in a warm bath after a day of hard labor.

I know, however, how unfair it is to judge a land by your heritage. I spent several years in Texas, where the highest point on the horizon is a freeway overpass. I nearly when crazy for lack of a comforting mantle of surrounding hills. I had a friend, however, who had been terrified by a trip to my native West. Those mountains, he said, loomed over him like mountains.

The Mongolians more than love their open spaces – The Eternal Blue Sky is their spiritual anchor. And drought-parched land is such a part of their land that they don’t really see the lack of lawns in their cities or the brown of the landscape. When rains finally cause the hardy grass to jump out of the soil, their jubilation is for better pasture.

But I love green and always will. I’ll also always love Mongolia and the Eternal Blue Sky, I can’t easily comprehend finding the splendor in dry emptiness just as I delight in eye-filling foliage. But like the unqualified love for both my children, it is part of my soul.

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