Ok, perhaps that’s a weak title, but I’m hoping it’s win-some enough to win-some readers. Besides, my original title was a mis-heard song lyric, and no one would have gotten it anyway. In my estimation, lame is better than “just plain wrong!”
But I digress (as always).
Much to my dismay, someone on Facebook posted a photo of the first Fall leaf they’d seen in New England this year, and it’s (checks watch) August 6th! Really??
“Heaven help us!” I thought. “Will Winter be soon upon us?”
And then I remembered. I don’t have to worry about Winter anymore. I live in the great State of Florida, where oranges grow and tourists flourish!
Back in Maine, the prospect of Winter had grown more and more dreadful to me each year. Emphasis on the dread. The previous two years had really outdone themselves, with record snowfalls and frigid temperatures. So in the Summer of ’15 I said “Nevermore!” and got on a fast track of getting rid of my things, literally giving away most of what I had, and keeping just enough to fit into my Ford Focus. I just could not take another snowstorm, another head-itching hat, another “you’ll be towed if you don’t move your cah!”
And I had known for a while that God was moving me on. It wasn’t just the weather. It was my heart. So I started making plans for my escape. I was Florida bound! And here I am! I arrived in Jacksonville in October of last year, and have not had one regret.
Okay, maybe some. I miss my friends and family, my church, the Spring and Summer in Maine. Susan’s Fish and Chips. Amato’s Italian Sandwiches…
Doesn’t it always come down to food, lol.
Besides, Winter here in Florida is COLD! But it’s worth it, it’s worth it! Not bikini weather, but that’s okay; you won’t see me in a bikini this side of glory anyway! Ok, ever!
Then again, I’m not living in the Southern part of Florida. Some even tell me that Jacksonville isn’t Florida. It’s fine, I believe I’m where God wants me to be. I’ve found a good church, some writing buddies, and some good friends. God is good.
But having seen the picture of that red spotted leaf, I have mixed feelings. I have taken so many pictures of Fall colors; I adore the smell of those leaves, the proverbial crunch underfoot, and the first few nips of cold on my nose. I went through the same pangs of regret when I heard about the flowers up there this Spring, the many hikes and activities, and the Summertime blue of the ocean. Yes, there are beautiful beaches here, but they’re not like the rocky crags of Maine, her pebbled shores, and the ice ice cold of her waters. Here, there aren’t many white sails, lazy fishing boats, and lush green islands rising up against the horizon. It’s pretty, but it’s different.
So if I sound a little sappy, indulge me, if you will; it’s rare. Most of the time I’m really happy with being in Florida. I finally get my Florida Orange license plate! I get to be that irritating tourist behind the wheel! Finally I am where I’ve wanted to be for so many years, and God has been so good to me! I enjoy the adventure of “I’ve never been there! Let’s go!” And of finally giving in to God’s will.
But I don’t plan on getting over the things I’ve left behind. I miss my BFF beyond measure, and other friends. My church “Up North” cannot be duplicated; I wouldn’t even try.
And those Italian sandwiches…