Nature: East vs West

In a review of Mary Oliver's poetry, Alice Gregory explores the seasons on each coast:

Refusing to acknowledge the immensity of your surroundings in California amounts to blasphemy, and don’t think there aren’t higher powers waiting to punish you. There are earthquakes; and mudslides; and for about three months of the year, entire regions of the state threaten to spontaneously combust. You wouldn’t dare sleep naked in Californiayou might need to run outside in the middle of the night, awakened to a rattling house and a mile-deep fissure in your front lawn.

But I’ve learned that what the East Coast lacks in menacing spectacle it makes up for in a sort of scaled-down obedience. East Coast nature yields to us. With its lapping, Amagansett waves and sweet sugar maples, the wild here, such as it is, seems to be ours for the sculpting. Perceiving nature’s rhythms feels less daunting, and our observations can be quieter, more microscopic. There are no incisor-like mountains or blazing forest fires to blast your sense of self. It’s a place where a poetic feeling can be maintained in relative peace, where the flora, fauna, and mild geology make space for introspective rumination and a notion of society. You can nurture a private sense of romance. The East Coast does not demand that you bow down before it in awe, nor does it require constant, humble apology for being tiny and human. You can be surrounded by the quaint prettiness of nature, not terrorized by its beauty as you are in California.