Notes from Home: Being Green
By Trudy Wischemann
It’s so beautiful here right now, these few precious weeks each year when our hills are green, burnished mustard yellow in places. Shining and soft in outline, blending with the green fields and groves, the hills seem friendlier to me, more inviting. It’s the time of year when I imagine normalcy prevailing, an illusion that disappears as the grass yellows, the hills becoming obstacles once again and I am reminded that we live in a semi-desert made habitable only by great, costly, government-controlled water works.
This time of year it’s easy being green. Saying that produces Kermit’s song “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” Kermit the green frog who bemoans the fact of his ordinary greenness until he arrives at the line “But green’s the color of spring.” It’s a breakthrough moment musically as well as lyrically, and he expands the idea that green “can be cool and friendly-like,” “big like an ocean,” “important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.”
I think the whole song might be a good representation of our region and our relative place within the state. I made a quick trip to Sonoma County last weekend, where the contrast in greenness usually makes it hard to come home. But the green of their rolling hills and valleys was matched by ours and topped by snow-peaked Sierra. The primary difference was in scale: their farms and fields are tucked into intimate, knowable valleys and across rolling oak-dotted ridges. Ours are laid out on one vast plain, changing slightly in crops and colors mile after mile.
Here it’s actually not that easy being green, like Kermit sang, “having to spend each day the color of the leaves when it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold – something much more colorful like that.” Like Kermit, each farm, each small town seems to “blend in with so many other ordinary things/ And people tend to pass you over ‘cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water/ or stars in the sky.” We non-urban residents and our livelihoods are the salt of the earth, the region’s “base” both politically and economically, more like ants and bees than eagles or grizzlies. It’s not hard to feel like mud on the shoes of the Great Farmer in the sky, grease on His wheel.
And yet, what we belong to is rather important, rather magnificent, rather more human and critically so, than most of what goes on in our concreted cities. They may control the future, but we control today. And each day that we get up and tend our small places on this planet, practice neighborliness and citizenship, frugality and faith, we make the world a better place. Each day the animals are fed, the children clothed and educated, the elderly made more comfortable and valued, the homes preserved, is a triumph. Each day we grow in respect for each other increases the common wealth as well as our own. Each day we walk in line with our Creator makes the pathways more sure-footed for others.
In another song, Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” the writer proclaims “there are heroes in the seaweed.” I’ve always loved that watery green image, and the people I’ve met who fall into that category. May we celebrate our greenness while we’re surrounded with its beauty.
Trudy Wischemann is an April baby from the rainy side of Washington who writes. You can send her your thoughts c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.