Here we go again. I had to turn my A/C back on. I wanted it to be Fall. And it was Fall for a little while. My boys and I played in the backyard, windows wide open, humidity gone and temperatures perfectly perfect.
But no. Florida came back to remind me that all bets are off down here. Never pack your summer clothes and always keep your A/C vent clean. It was 89 degrees today.
As a kind of, former New Englander, I get asked about this time of year a lot. Don’t you miss the changing leaves? What is it like living without any seasons? Isn’t it weird to celebrate Halloween or Christmas in the warm weather?
I’ve lived in Florida for over five years now – a fact which blows my mind in its own right. And it is not the same down here. With the A/C and a tank top on right now, yeah, its hard to feel all hot cidery and crunchy leavey about this time of year.
But does that make this season any less like Halloween? Maybe its a cop out, but I argue that it’s just, well, different. And haven’t we learned from many an Afterschool Special that different IS OK, dammit?
Most of the U.S. celebrates holidays and seasons similarly with certain colors, temperatures, smells in the air, clothes worn and sun shifts across the sky. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable, it’s how it’s done.
But Florida plays by its own rules. It sticks out south here and tries to get all chummy with the West Indies, Mexico and Central America. Like some rebellious teen, it acts all “I’m sooo not anything like my family”. And then, after glancing northward at its sibling states, it insists “I don’t know what they’re into but I totally roll with humidity, keeerazy sun and palm trees, yo.” And it does.
But eventually Florida shrugs off its humidity and plays by the rules for a small while. The air does get “cooler” and the A/C is switched off. And while others worry about jackets over Halloween costumes, we worry about… well, nothing. Because Halloween night here almost always promises perfect, dry weather, folding chairs pulled into the driveway, pink and purple skies, laughing neighbors and temperate breezes. It is a beautiful absolutely spectacular time of year. And one we can’t help but enjoy adopting as “typical” Fall weather.
You see, after 5 years, I’ve learned to look a little closer and find that seasonal specialness that comes with this time of year. It is here. T-shirt and flip flop worthy, sure – but it is here.
Sometimes, if you look carefully in certain light, the colors of Fall are there.
Sometimes the sky is more orange than any pumpkin you will find.
After 5 years, new symbols of fall emerge. Like a drying stump in the backyard or beautiful berries on a bush.
Sunflowers come and sunflowers go. (And then come back again.)
And yes, sometimes, our leaves change too.