Florida’s winter weather has forever lured us – from Ernest Hemingway to Chris Evert to Gloria Estefan. And it’s not just grandma and grandpa with their double-wide’s anymore. Sometime this year, the Sunshine State, lacking a state income tax while supporting a service-oriented economy, will surpass New York in population. What’s more, as it becomes the nation’s third most populous state, it’s not the sun-seeking seniors driving the growth.
The leaves around my neck of the state don’t change color – ever – only the license plates do, of tourists and snow-birds visiting every fall and winter. Attracting 87.3 million visitors in a record year, Florida is famous for its beaches, year long sunshine and theme parks.
Our trees are Palms; they stand tall, green, proud, and regal. There are over 2,500 species found mostly in the tropics. They hold the plant kingdom record for largest leaf, largest seed, and longest stem. Through hurricane force winds to the dead of winter when other trees in the country shiver, leafless…say it with me now…the Palm stands tall, green, proud, and regal.
And the month of September itself, where some may pay tribute to International Square Dancing Month, in Florida we’re aware that it’s primetime for hurricanes and shark attacks. Of course, we share Fight Procrastination Day on the 6th(or whatever day you get around to celebrating it.)
Somewhere through the years, I came across a plague that read, “BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.” It spoke to me. Making an effort, I embraced my surroundings.
Now don’t get me wrong, just because I realized long sleeves and flip flops beat parkas and snow boots and have faced the fact that I can barely drive in rain never mind ice and snow, my reformation is conditional.
My home, for instance; no Tommy Bahama teal and orange for me. My house resembles more Downton Abbey’s Hunting Cottage – hounds included. And by setting my central air to “stun”, I can simulate fall and winter! Having my power company send muffin baskets along with my bill never seems to get old.
Living here, I get to indulge in one of my first loves – ice hockey – by passionately cheering on the Florida Panthers. We are hoping to string together enough wins to see the playoffs this year and I get to wear a coat!
So where I have bloomed and appreciate where I’ve planted my feet deeply in the warm Florida sand, try not to judge me when come fall for a few short weeks I feel the need to wear plaid and drink a pumpkin spice latte.
Join me – and send me a comment!
From The Point – Always, Lori Flynn