Oddly, trees come first, people come second. I come from an arid climate with a lot of dirt and practically no rain. I won’t go into details because that’s the main point. I thought tree backgrounds in the Sears Catalogue were painted and didn’t know anywhere but an Amazon rainforest could be so lush. The deep forest has a personality of its own.
Almost like the trees know something--so much has happened on this ground it’s been made tough, resilient and self-sufficient. Who knew moss really does grow on the north side of trees? Who knew vines and kudzu enveloped so many secrets beneath them? Who knew mushrooms could be so beautiful? Who knew the wind is a whisper as it makes its way through the trees? Who knew that any direction you look, will be a sign of life--a rabbit, a deer, a squirrel, a chipmunk, a skunk, a badger, a beaver, etc, all of them making a life for themselves in a tiny area. Who knew a giant red oak tree could be so beautiful it could draw tears from my eyes? Or so large? I had thought Georgia was just a place where one fell off the earth--I’d never seen anything like it, never studied anything about it. California is only about California with little room for anything else.
Then there are the people. Where I come from, everybody knows everything. There is nothing new under the sun and I, as a person, may be counted as a number--one of 40,000,000 people. It is/was so regulated that nothing is available for these people and the droves of others make standing out next to impossible. And they like it that way--say only the strongest survive and everything is a competition. They’re right of course, the strongest do survive and there is nobody else. I was a number (unfortunately not a strong person) from the first day of school.
The people in Georgia (from Georgia as well) have time for you. Their rush is not so frantic. And it’s real, listening, understanding time. So you can get a connection with them practically as soon as you talk with them. I’ve been here long enough to have seen the renaissance from the old times that still existed in Georgia when I got here, to a merging of other states’ personalities. But fortunately the old times are still available, though being pushed further and further north. I can assume a person could be my best friend as soon as I meet them. Of course that’s not practical, but it’s lovely to contemplate.