Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seasonal Attitude Disorder

“I don’t know how you stand living in Florida. I need the seasons”. This is typical response when people learn that I’m from Florida. Generally what they mean by “seasons” is six to eight months of long cold nights, one month of rainy spring and flooding, two months of grotesquely humid summer days and then eleven magical days where the chlorophyll-pigmented adornments to woody vegetation (leaves on trees), are awash in a wave of spectral undulations that lap at the foliage over and over until it sucks the life from each beautiful leaf and leaves them dead on the forest floor. I get it.   

Having lived in Vermont for 14 years I can understand the visual spectacle that is leaf peeping. I appreciate the stillness and solitude of a billion snowflakes falling all around me in a moonlight hayfield. I love the notion that a 60 degree spring rain is a warm rain and the ephemeral flowers come and go too quickly. And it may be only two or three hot months of summer but after a long cold winter I can deal with 90 days of listening to someone ask me “Is it hot enough for ya?”

I get Florida too. The changes are just as subtle and vary from region to region and coast to coast. In the Everglades we have our seasons. Wet and dry are the most obvious but we have the changing of the leaves as well. For a few short weeks the Red Maples (Acer rubrum) and Willows (Salix sp.) slow their production of chlorophyll, revealing the carotene pigments that display oranges, xanthophyll pigments that show yellows and red producing lycopenes.

The feathery leaves of the deciduous conifer Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) will brown and fall to the ground, explaining the tree’s name. Nighttime temperatures will dip from the 60’s into the 40’s. The swamp will cool for a few months and to us Floridians it’ll get downright chilly. Someone will ask “Cold enough for ya?”


But I get it. 

1 comment:

  1. If I could, I'd buy you a beer for this blog. I'd rather sweat my ass off then have to stay cooped up for 6 months because of freezing cold.