Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Change In The Weather: Fort Lauderdale 1996

So, we had moved from Illinois to South Florida. We'd lived at the Riverside Hotel from May into July, then we found a house to rent in Victoria Park. Fru went to work at SunTrust Bank, on Las Olas downtown, while I stayed home with the girls--ages five and three--until my classes started at FIU. First Daughter started kindergarten at VSY in the neighborhood, Second Daughter stayed home and my Grad School classes were in the evenings.
And what I recall is that that first late fall and into winter I really enjoyed the weather. I'd drive down to Miami with my windows down--sometimes taking A1A along the beach--and just purely enjoy the warmth, the salty breeze, the fact that I could have my windows down (despite the humidity).
I mean, that's one of the reasons we moved to Florida, wasn't it? The weather? the winter weather? I'd lived in Florida before, had spent much time in the Keys, but, still, I could dig the warmth and the sunshine. We were still connected to the midwest, to it's sense of geography, its flora and fauna, its climate and temperatures. That was our template for viewing things, so our surroundings were still new and fresh and tropically exotic. We--I, as I drove back and forth to FIU--were tangibly conscious of what we had and what we were missing. We knew what the weather was like back "home". And when the cool days of our first winter in Fort Lauderdale came, Fru and I would get out the lawn chairs and just sit out in the yard at night, enjoying the low temps of 60 or even the "cold" 50 degree weather. Ahh.
And it was like that for maybe the first two or three years--this knowledge of what we weren't experiencing during the fall and winter, in October or February or even March (I always disliked March weather up north). But eventually that faded away. Fort Lauderdale, South Florida, became home. Warm sunny winters became our new norm. Fifty degrees really did become cold.
And now, some fourteen years later, rarely can i conjure up that thrill for a warm winter day. I mean, I enjoy it, but no longer do I have that innate comparison to what's going on in Illinois or Iowa or Montana, to what people in New York or even Tennessee, or even the panhandle of Florida are experiencing. It's not even unusual for me to lose track of the rest of the nation's weather. It can be January, but in my mind it's warm everywhere--I think that, sure, someone in Chicago is outside in their shirt and shorts grilling some fresh fish just like me. Why wouldn't they be?
I miss the change in weather. I really do. It's exotic to me to go back to Iowa during the winter and--not just see snow--but to have to wear a coat, to be able to wear long sleeves and socks, to see trees without leaves, to walk on hard soil--that kind of thing.
Yet, the weather patterns are engraved in me down here. I know summer's great heavy rains and humidity, the sorrow of September when you're tired of the wet heat and Hurricane Season, the slight change of things come October, that wondrous first cold snap of winter (fifty degrees!) and then the shift into spring come February. These are subtle seasons, but real seasons and I know them well.

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