Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tumbleweeds and Moss

For some reason lately I've been comparing San Diego and Seattle. Noticing the differences, smiling at the culture shock.

I was born and raised in San Diego. Well, actually east of San Diego, where it's hotter and dryer than the coast. If you heard on the news that San Diego would be 79 degrees, you can bet it was 10 - 15 degrees hotter where I lived.

When we first moved to Seattle I was a little shocked to see a guy power washing the roof of his house. "What on earth is he doing?" "Cleaning off the moss."

"What?! There's... moss on the roof? Why is there moss on the roof?"

Well, after having lived here almost 25 years, I now know why there is moss on the roof. It's because Seattle is so darn wet. There is moss on the roof and on the sidewalk and in the grass and on the deck...

Never saw a guy power washing moss off his roof in San Diego!

In San Diego, if you buy a piece of equipment to enclose the back of your truck so you can sleep in it or go camping, it's called a camper shell. Makes sense to me.

But in Seattle? It's called a canopy. Hmph.

In San Diego if you get hurt and need help, you call 911 and they send an ambulance. In Seattle they send an aid car. For a while I thought they were interchangeable but the other day I said something about an ambulance and the guy frowned at me. "You mean an aid car?" I sometimes forget Toto and I aren't in Kansas anymore. :)

You know what I've never seen in Seattle? A tumbleweed. You can often see them in San Diego, especially out in the more rural areas where I grew up. Makes me smile to think of a tumbleweed rolling along the ground during a warm Santa Ana wind.

In Seattle we have beautiful scenery; Mount Baker toward the North and Mount Rainier to the south. Sometimes driving down the freeway, you round the bend and Mount Rainier is visible like it's sticking right up out of the freeway. A huge, towering mountain of snow. We have the Puget Sound, a gorgeous waterway with cruise ships, barges and Washington State Ferries and sail boats. Unfortunately we also have very tall evergreen trees, Pine, Cedar, Hemlock, that usually block the views of the mountains and Sound. The sky can be brilliant but you'd never see it because of the trees. And after 25 years I can tell you the trees never change. All they do is get taller and block out more of the view. Our house is surrounded by them. Yaaaay.

If you want to see and smell Pine trees in San Diego, you have to drive an hour or so up into the Laguna Mountains. Down in San Diego they have Pepper trees and cactus and hibiscus and Palm trees. The vegetation doesn't grow super tall and the views can be spectacular. You can see for miles from many places in San Diego. But sometimes the ground is so dry it's hard to get things to grow. My sister goes out to her yard often during the summer to 'water the dirt'. It keeps the dust from flying around and into the house. We definitely don't have to water the dirt here in Seattle.

When the cool, wet, mossy climate of Seattle starts to get me down, I try to look at it from my sisters perspective. Every time they come to visit, they step out of the car and into our front yard. After taking a deep breath, they say our yard smells like Christmas trees!

I guess living in Seattle isn't so bad after all.


Caz said...

Really good to hear from you Cindy. You've lived in what sound like a couple of amazing places. No tumbleweed or mossy roofs here, although we get plenty of rain. Maybe not warm enough?

Deborah said...

This post made me smile. My husband and I lived in the midwest for a long time, and moved to south Texas 4 years ago. One of the weirdest things for us here is the lack of tall trees. We miss them and the season. There are no leaves that change color! But we have friends who grew up here before spending some time in Illinois, and they felt like the trees up north always got in the way of the sunset - different than in south Texas, where you can see the sunset every day.