America is Large. Big land, big cities, big houses, big coffees. We indulged in 99 cent Dunkin Donut coffees a few times….a gallon of coffee for $4. Until we lived in a small country, I hadn’t thought of the USA as particularly large, but it is.
Oh yes, and big cars. Full sized pick up trucks galore, and parking lots chocked full of these generously proportioned SUV’s — the Mama Cars in prosperous American suburbia.
Suburban Chicago looks like an arboretum. I’m not sure exactly why big trees are scorned in Christchurch, but the open grassy lawns and spreading limbs make for a pleasant shady neighborhood here. The absence of fences feels friendly.
The broad leaf forest feels friendly too. Wide fluttery leaves and sun dapples. Despite the greater Chicago metropolitan area hosting 12 million people (the whole of NZ has 4 million), there seems to still be enough space for trees and forest preserves.
We’re missing oak in this hardwood medley, but we have lots of maples, walnut, and black locust.
Cat tails aren’t particularly large, but they’re a friendly north American plant I was glad to see again. If you had asked me a year ago to describe suburban Chicago summer I would not have said “Green,” but that’s my impression on this visit. Green except for the poor ash trees, skeletons now that the emerald ash borer has established its residence.