Things I Love About Florida

June 27, 2011

If I’m honest, from now until about November, I am pretty unhappy about living in Florida. Summers here are brutal—heat in the 90s with matching humidity, giving us heat index ratings in the 100s for days on end. And there are no cool mornings or evenings to offer a break—mornings and evenings may be a teeny bit cooler, yes, but just as humid which is what bothers me the most. It’s like having a hot, wet towel thrown over your head.

Anyway this post is not supposed to be a long complaint about the weather (see: title). It’s supposed to be about what I love about Florida—things I will concentrate on when the humidity makes me wish I never set foot in this state. Here are a few:

Florida skies. Whether they’re bright blue or swirled with soft-serve clouds, Florida skies are breathtaking. I moved here from Southern California, where the sky was usually a flat gray or even white with few clouds to liven up the expanse. I know there must have been plenty of blue-sky days, but they were nothing to the daily show Florida’s skies put on.

Birds. I never paid much attention to birds until I moved to Florida—but having Sandhill Cranes in your back yard will get your attention. In addition to the cranes, which raise babies all over town every year, I’ve seen pileated woodpeckers, roseate spoonbills, and great blue herons in our subdivision, along with countless other species. We have a long, rectangular retention pond not far from our house, and I keep meaning to walk down there with my camera and bird book and see how many birds I can identify. We’ve had Carolina wrens build a nest and raise a batch of babies in our garage and another at the base of a potted bougainvillea. When I walk the dog at night, sometimes I hear an owl.

Sandhill cranes (not my yard, though!)
Other wildlife. Our subdivision backs up to conservation land, so we have the occasional wild visitor. In addition to regular alligator sightings, we’ve seen deer, foxes, rabbits, gopher tortoises and bobcats in our neighborhood. Wild boars regularly wander in and sometimes have to be trapped if they begin to tear up too many yards. We’re infested with squirrels, as well as frogs, toads, skinks and (gulp!) snakes. (I could really live without the snakes, but I guess I have to accept whatever nature throws at me!) We will not discuss the abundant insect life because this is about what I LIKE about Florida…

Thunder—if I’m safely inside*. I love the rumbly, grumbly sound of rolling thunder from a summer storm. Our wimpy California storms had nothing like Florida thunder, which can sometimes shake the windows. Few things are cosier than lying in bed listening to thunder and the patter of rain drops. *Unfortunately, I’m terrified of lightning!

I know there are more things I could list that I love about Florida if I thought about it harder. Ask me again in February, and I’ll come up with a whole new list!

What are some things you love about where you live?