Living in SWFL has its advantages. The beach. 360 days worth of sun. Most homes have their own pools. Boats. Generally beautiful weather while the rest of the world is buried in 3 feet of snow.
Unfortunately, it has some pretty steep disadvantages also. Like no Fall. We are currently enduring the hottest month of our summer while many northern states are experiencing warm days and crisp evenings. While you may be racing out the door to take advantage of the fall picnic in the park or just playing a quick game of Ultimate Frisbee, we’re huddled inside our 77* air-conditioned homes to escape the feels like 98* temps with a UV index off the charts. It makes the typical season of fall, for those non-natives of Florida who know about it, a bit of a depressing season.
It’s my most favorite season and I miss out on it. I love the smell of burning leaves, the rustle of them when I walk, their colors in the trees. I miss needing a sweater in the morning, knowing as the sun rises it will be warm enough to not need it again until night. I miss a bowl of stew keeping you warm at night or a hot cup of coffee waking you up and warming numb fingers. I miss fall clothes. It’s hard to pull off that layered shirt and boot look when your sweating the minute you walk outside. The closest we get is generally December and January…which might be cold enough to layer clothes and get away with boots. But we don’t get the event of nature changing around us…most of our plants stay green and the ones that don’t just turn brown until spring.
So, it’s no wonder that Floridians do strange things during this time of year. Like spend crazy money on Pumpkin Lattes, fall-scented candles and other various decorations to try to convince ourselves that it is really fall. We knock a few degrees down on our A/C…make a soup or stew and pretend we’re someplace else. It’s a poor substitute but one that is needed in my mind. How else can you enjoy your favorite season if where you live doesn’t have it?
I’ll be enjoying Florida again come November when we finally get our cooler weather and all this pretending will be a dream. But until then, I’ll be sniffing my candles and praying for a long, cold Florida winter this year.