America’s Burdens (as Defined by Mark Twain)

“San Francisco is built on sand hills, but they are prolific sand hills. They yield a generous vegetation. All the rare flowers which people in ‘the States’ rear with such patient care in parlor flowerpots and greenhouses flourish luxuriantly in the open air there all the year round. Calla lilies, all sorts of geraniums, passion flowers, moss roses—I do not know the names of a tenth part of them.

I only know that while New Yorkers are burdened with banks and drifts of snow, Californians are burdened with banks and drifts of flowers, if they only keep their hands off and let them grow….”

— Mark Twain, Roughing It, Chapter LVI

Images: 1.) The blizzard of 1888, New York (U.S. Library of Congress, public domain). 2.) Flowers and a roadside mural near Fresno, California, 1980 (Carol Highsmith, U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

 

 

 

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