This is my first winter in Florida. I use the term “winter” here very loosely. It’s something that the locals refer to as “cold” but I just look at them as if they’re crazy. As a native Hoosier, winter for me involves single digit temperatures with wind chills that are described by the local weathermen as “arctic.” Floridians don't realize that their winter is actually just jacket weather to the rest of the country.
Now, I'm what most people think of as weird: I really enjoy winter. A lot. I love cold weather and snow and dangerously cold temperatures. I like to tell the anecdote that I love winter so much that I walked 45 minutes to campus in 6” of snow with -30* F wind chill and loved it. My legs were a little cold but it was a type of chill that is exhilarating, the type of chill that all of those mint gum commercials say they provide but don’t because it’s gum not a force of nature.
When my boyfriend got his job in Florida and asked me to move with him, I agreed quickly, without thinking about everything that I’d leave behind. I knew that my family and friends would of course still be in Indiana and I’d miss the various locales that I loved to frequent that had no substitute but I honestly didn’t think about the seasons. It wasn’t until mid October when the high was still in the low 80s every day that I realized just how awful “winter” was going to be.
The first thing I really noticed was the lack of color. Sure, everything was still green, the grass, the palm trees, the pine trees, but there wasn’t the color. One of my favorite places is State St in Pendleton, IN. It’s a road that I always try to take when I’m visiting my mom. It’s where most of the historical district is with houses that are stately in their determination to remain as pristine as the day they were finished over 100 years ago. The brick road adds the idea that you really are transported to a different time. And the trees, oh the trees. The trees are the best indication of what season it actually is. They tell you when fall is finally here because they turn the most gorgeous shades of brown and red and gold that you will ever see in a collection.
So when mid October hit northern Florida and I was still contemplating going to the pool and had the air conditioning on, the lack of color just reiterated the fact that winter was going to be different. Much different.
I think it should be outlawed to have the icicle lights that don houses from November 1st through the end of the year, in places that don’t get actual icicles. It looks unnatural to have “icicles” next to your palm trees that are next to the pool.
So when Indiana got their first of several snow storms, I cried. I hate to admit it, but I did. I cried a little bit when one of the Indianapolis news stations that I still follow on Twitter posted a picture of the Indianapolis skyline with snow falling down. I didn’t cry a lot, just a few tears before I realized how ridiculous I was being.
That’s generally why I stop crying most of the time; I realize how ridiculous I’m being. “Oh this puppy food commercial is so adorable and that puppy is so cute! Leigh, why are you crying? You realize this is a commercial about a happy and well-fed puppy right? Good. Now stop crying. You’re being ridiculous.” You would be surprised at how often I have this conversation with myself.
So while my family was literally snowed in or trying to shovel the car out of the driveway, I was in Florida sitting with the air conditioning still on and wearing a tank top to go get the mail. I’ve been told that this winter here is colder than normal, but I don’t believe it. Yeah, there have been a couple of nights that are reminiscent of Indiana but the distinct lack of snow or biting wind remind me that I’m still in Florida’s tropical climate.
I've offered to trade locations with numerous friends and family, have them come stay here in Florida while I go back to Indiana to play in the snow but so far, no one has taken me up on it.
Knitting today: Same washcloth I've slowly been working on.