Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile...William Cullen Bryant.
I love seasons…that’s why I live in a place that skips the @#%ty ones…Daniel Tosh
Autumn fell on us on a Sunday this year. As I type this, it’s a brisk, autumny 85 degrees in downtown Miami. There will be a hard rainfall later today from about 5:45 until 6:05, depending on what time I get on I-95 to go home. The rainy season will most likely be over sometime this month It’s football season, and after the Sunday game, kids spill out of their houses to play outside in their favorite team T-shirts and shorts. Since this is South Florida, the shirts will read NY Jets and NY Giants. We’ll all try to enjoy this last bit of outdoor activity before the winter makes the outdoors unbearable, with temperatures dipping down to the mid 60’s, when Floridians shut their doors and grab their sweaters and hot chocolate.
Anyone who thinks I’m boasting about living in South Florida doesn’t know me. (Generally, if in doubt, assume I’m being sarcastic.) Like most Floridians, I come from the Northeast, and I’m used to more temperature-diversity. For several years after moving down here, I over-asserted my home town pride in an effort to alienate everyone I would meet. I would work Philly into every conversation, sometimes nonsensically, like Diane Keaton’s character in Manhattan. “I’m from Philly…I love bread!” Now I’ve been here close to 5 years, and I can honestly say that I’m over it. I don’t pine for Philly anymore. Now, I just miss the cold.
My family spent this past weekend in the mountains in upstate Pa, the Poconos, to attend a wedding. We stayed lakeside in a campsite cabin allegedly built pre-civil war. Driving up I-476, the Northeast Extension of the Pa. Turnpike, we all stared at the hills we were driving around, and at one point through, and we checked out all the red and orange leaves falling on the grass, the trees that only grow up north.
On Sunday, the day we left, we woke up to see from our windows steam rising off the lake.
Although the day was going to hit the mid 60’s, the temperature in the morning was in the high 40’s.
In fall when I was young, my family would never miss the Eagles game. The NL East Eagles usually played at 1 pm, so there would be time before and after the game to play outside. Years later, at this wedding, standing on a soccer field right by where the tented reception was taking place and watching my kids run frantically, pretending they were all “My Little Ponies” playing soccer, those Sundays in fall came back to me. I recalled playing outside in the slight chill on a game day Sunday. I celebrated that it was not a school day, I celebrated the Eagles’ victory (of course they won), and unconsciously, I celebrated the fact the air felt so good.
For different reasons, South Florida is a great place to live. My kids may not feel that brisk Autumn air very often, but they can play soccer outside any day of the year. If they get too cold, I turn up the AC. Also, we have beaches, palm trees, all that stuff that brings everyone down here all winter. But I can’t help but feel my kids are missing something. In my arrogance, I had the impression when I moved here we northerners were hardier, stronger, since we were able to withstand a more adverse climate. (You ever see a Floridian in the Pa. winter? Hysterical.) That’s probably nonsense, especially since most northerners spend their winters complaining about how cold it is.
The secret to the cold weather is, stop talking about it and thinking about it. Just go about your business and it’s much less of a problem. (Easy for me to say: I gather many of you are from Michigan, and my impression of Michigan winter is that it’s Pennsylvania winter times Alaska.) If at all possible, enjoy the coming cold weather. I never understood when people would say, “I can never live in Florida/California. I would miss the seasons.” Now I do.