It is a habit among people Up North to mock those of us who choose to avoid seasons and live in an endless summer among the alligators and palms. South Florida is home to weirdos and eccentrics, failures fleeing Protestant ethics of hard work and success. Ethics lived out through gritted teeth in dour brick cities lined with leafless trees on damp cold winter days compressed by gray skies and early darkness. And here we are in mid winter in colorful shirts and shorts on permanent vacation with a Cuban coffee and hot sweaty sunshine. Enough to make you grind your teeth, right?
And then my relatives in California ask me provocatively what do I think of climate change and sea level rise, knowing full well I live within feet of the high tide mark. Here I am and there they were staring at a massive forest fire roaring down the hill toward their home. They were saved by a river so all was well but I’m not sure the non linear nature of life and misfortune is yet apparent to the youngsters in the scorched Sunshine State.
I have lived through enough hurricanes to know what it feels like to stare disaster in the face but I don’t see easy answers out there. Every region has its problems and surviving a hurricane seems a lot more likely considering how many people died in the fires. And for my part ice storms power outages and snow drifts don’t do much for me. Yet when we in the Sunshine State find ourselves facing a sudden chill we become the objects of callous mockery.
The cheap shots come flying from the peanut gallery. It’s 27 and snowing in Cleveland they moan. It’s a free country I reply, so move south and learn to live with less while you enjoy the bright light of winter sun. The thing that’s hardest to explain is how cold a damp 60 degree day with a strong north wind feels on skin which is used to 80 degrees and humidity. Especially as one doesn’t have winter clothes.
Rusty is slowly recovering from having his torn tendon stitched up. His pain pills slow him down so he sleeps a lot and isn’t keen to be too active so he must be in pain. Next week his stitches come out and he should have a complete recovery. Just like me only for me it is a rather longer process. Rusty at least enjoys the cold weather. We sat out with him in the grass yesterday to allow him to enjoy the cool breeze and watch the world go by. Not walking so not stressing his front paw.
All of which means we are cold in weather that Up North would never give you goose bumps but were you down here you would be saying “Well actually it is quite cold isn’t it, even though it’s just sixty degrees.” I think it’s the damp salt air that makes it feel so cold. No one believes me until they experience it so I might as well stop trying to convince you right?
Don’t worry; I can’t get out much anyway. I’m not riding these days so weather doesn’t mean that much. I’ll survive this cold front just in case you were worried for me. You dress up and face your frost and hail and snow and I’ll keep on keeping on down here.