I have lived in South Florida for twenty-five years (with a few short interludes elsewhere). Florida, where there are only two seasons: Hurricane and So-Hot-Hell-Would-Be-a-Reprieve. If we’re lucky we get a few really nice days in January, but if you plan to step outside between now and September you’ll need a change of clothes by the time you get to the car.
At least there’s no state income tax…
Yesterday I got on a plane to visit family in New England. Son wanted me to pack his mittens, as he was expecting the weather to be the same as it was the last time we visited. We arrived late last night in the afterglow of a summer rain and didn’t make it to my sister’s house until about 12:30 am.
We woke today to some very glorious weather. Yesterday was my nephew’s last day of school, and I wanted to make it really fun. We went to a brand new park with a terrific concept: “A place to play for every child of every ability…” and did a bunch of other things fun for an almost four-year-old and an almost nine-year-old. At lunch I overheard my nephew say to himself, “This is a really good day!”
And I noticed something interesting. Everyone was in a terrific mood. Everywhere we went sales clerks and patrons and passerby were smiling, polite, and cheery. These people were enjoying the perfect day perhaps more than I. They wait all year to wear shorts instead of overcoats, and to sit outside on their porches and watch their kids run through the sprinklers. They wait for their ice cream stores to open, for their pools to be warm enough not to cause hypothermia, to see a shade of green other than the dark forest green of an evergreen.
As we drove around this lovely New England town with the windows down, wildflowers of every color of the rainbow decorating mile upon mile of development-less acreage, each kid licking a lollipop given by the purveyors of the local car wash, I reveled in the perfect 73 degree, blue-skied, perfect summer day. I must have passed fifteen garden centers, each ablaze with the beautiful colors of lilacs and hydrangea and sunflowers instead of the mums, wreaths and Christmas trees I saw on my last visit. And they were full of smiling, happy people.
These people appreciate summer.
I appreciate a gorgeous day, but it’s been twenty-five years since I truly appreciated summer.
Thanks, people of New England, for reminding me how glorious it could be.