23 March 2010

Floridian seasons, as observed by an Illinoisian

Jen over at Divinest Sense has a nice post up today about spring in Florida.  I started to comment on it, but my comment started sounding like its own post, so I decided to write over here so as not to clutter Jen's comment section with my rambling.

I am not a Florida native.  I was born in northern Illinois, and then followed my father all over the country during his years in the military.  When he got out of the Army, we settled back in Illinois.  I graduated high school in northern Illinois and college in central Illinois.  When people ask where I'm from, I tell them Illinois.  It's the state that feels most like home (outside of Florida).

When I moved to Florida in summer of 2007, I was excited about living in such a beautiful place.  Everything was new and vacation-grade gorgeous.  I was in paradise.

At the same time, I mourned the loss of what I considered winter.  It's not that I missed the cold--I hate being cold--but part of me missed the beauty of waking up on a crystal cold morning to see fresh, sparkling snow.  I missed the incredible quiet of snowing mornings.  I missed the magic of watching big, wet snowflakes falling at night, catching light from the streetlamps.

But what I missed most was what came after a winter like this.  When your winter is made up of snow and ice and bitter, bitter cold, spring is a change.  That first day you go without a heavy coat, mittens, and a hat feels like the best day of the year.

In a state where winter feels like fall in Illinois, that transition is far less satisfying.  Yes, there is a change in the temperature here.  And yes, the winter this year was colder than years past.  But it has still been such a subtle transition into the chilly days of early spring that I've hardly noticed.

It reminds me of my first winter here, actually.  We moved here in June 2007.  That first Christmas, though, I had virtually no Christmas spirit.  It didn't feel like Christmas to me.  I had to practically force myself to put up decorations, to say "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" to people.  It didn't really feel like Christmas until I was eating Christmas dinner with the family.

I think colder climates have an advantage over Florida in this way.  Yes, we have warmer weather year-round, but going from the cold of winter to the first almost-warm days of spring reminds you that it won't always be cold.  Seeing the tulips peeking up (often through the snow) reminds you that new life is coming.  And there's something really beautiful about the contrast between the dead gray and brown of winter versus the bright green of spring.  How can you really appreciate the change from winter to spring if there isn't really a change, but more of a shift?

That's why, here in Florida, I echo Jen's claim of a favorite season: autumn.  There's a bigger change in temperature here from summer to fall than there is from winter to spring.  So while I'm super-excited that the weather is warming up here, I'll be looking forward to the end of summer, that first evening I have to put on a sweater.

It'll be the best day of the year.

What is your favorite season?  Why?

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Fall is my favorite, but I really do love spring. It's the "slap yourself silly" excitment that comes with the first truly warm days and the lift you feel when the sun shines warm. As much as I hate snow and winter, I'll probably never live somewhere that it doesn't snow so I can always feel the change and explosion of springtime.

  2. I agree about spring. When those first warm days come, you have more energy, you're happier, and you feel more alive! It's wonderful!

    Why is fall your favorite?

  3. Yay! I'm glad my post inspired you. =)

    It's interesting how different all our perspectives are... I remember one Christmas going somewhere with a couple of friends from further north and they were talking about how much they miss snow. Having lived in Florida all my life, I felt kind of left out.

    But I do love fall and spring so much, for different reasons. Take what we can get, right?

    Thanks again for posting back! :)

  4. Hi, I wandered over here somehow . . . I'm new to Florida and miss the (relative) cold of the mid-Atlantic states. I used to love that biting wind of the fall that made you snuggle with your sweetie in the high school football bleachers! But, I like to garden and plant, so spring is still exciting for me: http://theredcentipede.blogspot.com/2010/03/on-holding-children-and-flowers.html

    I just dread the hot, hot summer in my new home--eek!

  5. @Jen: We definitely take what we can get. One reason I love to travel is to get a taste of those other things, too.

    @CK: Thanks for stopping by! Florida is great. Yes, the summers get hot, but the weather is perfect in the evenings. I hope you like it here!


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