“I don’t know how you stand living in
. 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
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?” Vermont
too. The changes are just as subtle and vary from region to region and coast to
coast. In the Florida 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
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.