One of the best things about our year in CT was the glorious natural beauty of the East Coast. We were in an suburban setting, but our city was still filled-to-bursting with trees, vines, flowers, rivers, streams, cardinals, bluebirds, robins, badgers, woodchucks, squirrels, swans, ducks and geese. And we were 3 miles from a tiny, beautiful beach, also filled with trees!

Even a simple drive to the grocery store was filled with jaw-dropping beauty that changed with the seasons–stunningly gold and red leaves in the fall, snow piled in unimaginable shapes on top of branches in the winter, fluttering swirls of pink flower petals in the spring, and shades of green so bright that they almost hurt my eyes in the summer.

Returning to our extremely suburban, smog-filled CA neighborhood was painful at first. River used to call out “GREEEEEN TREEES!!” whenever we drove in CT. In CA, she seamlessly switched to “BRRROOOOWNNN TREEES” with the same amount of enthusiasm.

Driving around without her, I felt my spirit sink at the site of rampant graffiti, trash-filled train yards, brown-brush-covered hills, endless freeways with comparatively no plant life growing alongside them, ugly, utilitarian buildings and houses, and the overly industrialized feel that our area has.

But driving around *with* my toddler-bug completely changed how I saw the same things. Instead of wincing at how close the garish RV dealership is to our home, I saw the pretty, fluttering, colorful flags that she squealed in delight over. The train yard was simply the COOLEST THING EVER in her eyes–because there were TRAINS that went “CHOO CHOO!!!!” The graffiti was something that added colors to our drive, and the brown, sad (in my eyes) trees were still trees that swayed in the wind, which meant they were just as exciting as the gorgeous, green, masses of trees that I was mourning.

Now that we’ve been back for several months, I’m able to admire more things–the beautiful views of the mountains when the air is clean, the jaw-droppingly colorful sunsets that we get because our air is so dirty, our long, long, sun-filled days, Grocery stores that have an abundance of parking. The glorious amount of ethnic and specialty cuisine and food items that are readily available.

And while I still miss our little beach and being 1/4 mile from both a Children’s Museum and a park, I’m delighted to be closer to the people we love and to be back in our own home. It’s nice to live in a place we own (rather than rent) and be able to customize it to what we need. I’m grateful for Riverbug’s joyful perspective to help me see the beauty around me, even in unexpected places. 


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