There is something really cozy about being in Syracuse. I'm sure part of it is the feeling I get being around my parents and my best friend -- the comfort I feel in my mother's home surrounded by the things that remind me of family and of the past -- but I think another part of it has to do with the trees here. All around me at every level, everywhere I go there are trees of many varieties, in all shades of bright green. They surround me with a loving layer of bright, verdant protection. California is a gorgeous place of stunning beauty, but the vegetation is very different there. The climate is arid and the colors are much more varied, including green that has been turned to straw by the heat of the sun and lack of ample hydration. The green vegetation here in Central New York feels like home. There are trees with an active community of bird and squirrel residents surrounding every human home. Bunnies, chipmunks, and myriads of other small creatures live in every neighborhood, under every house, in every back yard. Soon, here in Central New York, the weather will get much cooler and the leaves will turn red, yellow, and orange. The air will begin to smell of sweet maple sap and its crisp coolness will invigorate the senses. And I will go back to San Francisco where flowering bushes, trees, and plants will continue to thrive all throughout the winter in my concrete neighborhood. I'll be happy to see flowers outside in January, but I'll be sad that the only birds I'll see on my block will be pigeons and the only small creatures I'll see will be rats and cockroaches.* There is something nice about not ever having to deal with extreme weather, something good about not having to change plans or activities because of snow and ice, but I have to admit I miss the seasons and especially the Fall in upstate New York, where autumn is a very special time of year.
*The truth is, I can see much more vegetation and wildlife if I go to the beach or the park, but I won't see any of it in the neighborhood where I live. And, I'm hoping my new apartment will not have the rodent and insect problems I have had at my current residence.