I have now lived a full quarter of my life in Florida.
No regrets. Ever.
I dreamed my entire life of living somewhere warm. I do not miss icy roads, snow, or even color season.
I am one who moved here and became and inhabitant, not just a resident. I learned the names of the birds (don’t just call them all “ducks”), learned what plants and trees were indigenous, got to know the beaches and the islands and the swamps. I’m happy to say that much of my education came from what is called University Colloquium at Florida Gulf Coast University, but there was plenty I knew from my own self-education.
Ordinary life now is the change of seasons that find pine needles falling off cypress trees, the grasses dying off the lake, the colors of the flowers changing from yellows and oranges to deep reds and fuschia. It’s recognizing that there has been no rain or that the morning air is just a little cooler. I couldn’t love the bougainvillea more if I tried. And palm trees — a constant reminder I’m in paradise.
Yes, it gets stinking hot here, and by August I am a bit tired of it. But seriously, I felt the same about winter, and in Ohio it could be relentless. You’d get excited about the first day of spring, only to find there wasn’t one warm day for another six weeks. At least here I can go out and play tourist and feel renewed.
I’ll take the heat over the cold any day.
Florida has been my home, physically and emotionally, since the day I arrived. I don’t think that is going to change. When we travel, and we return to the state line, I always feel it. I’m home.