Some Thoughts on the End of Florida’s Tourist Season
It is the end of high season in Florida, the time of year when people, weary of winter, migrate south, seeking the sun. January, February, and March are the peak months, but once Easter is over, the wave of visitors begins to ebb until the tide is fully out, usually by the end of May. Right now, the roads are clogged, bumper-to-bumper on the keys and in the hospital zone, but otherwise, the traffic runs steady.
It is beautiful in Florida right now. Everywhere I look is profusion of color: waters of turquoise compete with skies of Robin’s egg blue where majestic “God clouds” rise to the heavens until you think you’ve never seen a sky so big. The white sugar sand is warm under my toes.
Flowers bloom in profusion and I am taken back in time when, at the Assisted Living Facility, my mother and I picked orange hibiscus blooms and put them in her hair, which pleased her.
Later she put it in a cup with no water, telling me it is unnecessary because the bloom dies quickly whether or not you give it water.
It was the little things she knew, the things I was always too busy to hear, not having the time to learn which caterpillar has the right markings to be a monarch one day, those were the things I listened for then.
“Tell me the story of what Uncle Alfred did to get himself thrown in jail.”
“I don’t remember.”
“That’s okay, Mom.”
Here at home, so many years later, the soft breezes brush gently across my skin, carrying just enough chill to threaten me with a shiver, but not so much that I actually do. The air is sweet, perfumed with blooming orchids and magnolias and just the occasional whiff of salt air rising up off the gulf and floating inland.
The soft rustles of the breeze as it played among the dead fronds hanging downward from the palms…“palm trees in grass skirts”, my mother called them…made me wonder. Did ole Ponce lift his face to the sky and breathe as deeply as I do? Did the breeze caress his face, calling him to come closer, dreaming of eternal life?
I open the windows and let the soft breeze sweep the rooms clean, carrying away the stale smells of a house too long closed up, and turn my face to the sun and drink it in, taking my fill, hoping it is enough to have some left for later, when the heat bears down and the sun sears my skin.
There are many beautiful places to live, all across the country, but my roots are deep in Massachusetts and in Florida. When people ask me where I grew up, I answer: “I grew up in the best of both worlds.”