I grew up in Kentucky so, naturally, moving to Florida for college meant extensive transitions. Besides the fact I was now several states away from my parents, trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and learning how to interact socially with others, the most extensive transition of all, by far, was adapting to the weather.
Okay, I might be exaggerating just a little bit. However, even after five years I’m still not used to it. Sure, it’s quite wonderful when the humidity is low, the sun is out and the breeze is at a cool 65 degrees. That happens about 14 of 365 days. The rest of the time, I try really really hard not to complain and layer long-sleeve cardigans just so I don’t have to wear sunscreen every day. Not to mention, there’s still half of my closet I refuse to get rid of even though I can’t wear the items except when I go home at Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong, my Vitamin D levels are exemplary and my allergies are a lot better for the majority of the year. Leaving Kentucky has been great for my health, actually. It is also quite cool to go for bike rides in the middle of January! All I’m saying is, I miss the seasons…particularly the fall.
I also miss the change in terrain. South Florida isn’t unattractive, it’s just different. My senior year of high school, sometimes I would leave school, pick up a cup of coffee, and just drive for a while out in the countryside. Within 20 miles of my neighborhood I’d see hills, rivers, forests, lakes, farms, cityscape, and so much more. Here in Tampa and the surrounding area, it just isn’t the same.
Despite that, I’ve realized that where I am is beautiful in its own way. After graduating from college I suppose I could have found a job elsewhere and left Tampa, or gone back to my hometown. But I’ve realized that the things I find to complain about here aren’t valid arguments to be unsatisfied. Here is where my family is, both physical and spiritual, and that fact outweighs any dissatisfaction I might have with the silly weather patterns. When I get a hankering for fall, mountains, or snow, it’s just a flight or a drive away. And guess what? I can do that with those I love, too.
Last weekend was one of those sweet gems of a day where the sun felt good and the breeze was just right. For the first time since I was a little girl, my whole family packed up a picnic lunch and went to the park. (I blame the adorable baby!) It also gave me a chance to try out my new camera lens a bit, a Canon 50mm 1.4, and we all got in some exercise on the walking trails. We’ll definitely be going back to Hillsborough State Park again…there’s even a campground!
“I have learned that to be with those I love is enough”
― Walt Whitman