Sunday, October 14, 2012

Signs of Fall~~Florida Style

A Gulf Coast autumn arrives quietly as if on silken cats' paws~~without exhuberant colors of leaf-turning and dramatic cold spells. One barely knows it's come. The only color changes (it's been said by humorists) are those on out-of-state license plates. But one sure sign of a Florida autumn is road construction~~winter tourists are on their way!
Nature's autumn doesn't turn up in Florida until November, the loveliest month of the year and the month of my birth. By November, we've turned off the air-conditioner and opened every window in the house. Seaspray scents the night air drifting through the jalousies above our sleeping heads. Hurricanes are forgotten, beautyberry bushes ripen, mowing slows, and the humidity drops to an easy-breezy level.
Bird migrations arrive to feast on shade-loving beautyberry bushes.
We can garden again!
 Cooler temps are perfect for planting cucumbers, kale, broccoli and lima beans.
 Swamp sunflowers open, Mexican sage blooms, pole beans and eggplants blossom.
 Bees are bizzzzzzy while flurries of butterflies flutter above milkweed nectar pots.
Our lemon tree is heavy with fruit again~~we're making lemon waters and seasoning fish filets.
Soon we can clip basil and cilantro for salads.
We're off to farmers' markets~~it's time to taste the fruit and squeeze the vegetables.
 We fill our sacks with honey/pear sweet corn,
 fresh-baked breads,
 stone crabs,
 and fresh Florida citrus.
When the summer rains stop, our green lawns turn a dusty color and palm trees begin to drop their fronds.
Trick-or-treaters look like those up north but they often sweat under heavy costumes.
Slowly, but surely, the "ember" months burn down to the end of the year and Christmas comes around again. I'm always stung by the gaud-awful glitter of a tinsel-y, snowless Florida Christmas. The only decor that ever makes sense to me is the Live Nativity re-enacted each year on a bit of landscape surrounded by palm trees. No camels carry the wise men to this crib, though~~they ride slowly about the scene on horses while Mother Mary hovers over her child and a choir of angels sings carols.
The new year signals a SNOWBIRD ALERT.
We're all eyes as they filter in, filling the streets with cars from other states,
 reconnecting with families and friends for warm-weather fun.
Restaurants are filled, beaches sport colorful set-ups,
and shopkeepers think they're in heaven.
All winter, I'm  out with my camera.
Looking to see what I can see.
As Mark Twain says, anything can happen today.


TSL said...

Wonderfully written!


Your beautiful words on a Florida autumn, remind me of our days of living in the tropics of Viet Nam. It was different, but still beautiful.

Blessing on your fall, Becky.

tammy j said...

oh my goodness.
a feast! for all my senses!
it's like i'm there.
i never thought i'd like fall in a warm tropical climate. because fall after all is my favorite.
but YOU might just have changed my whole outlook on a fall there.
it sounds magical.
and berries really named
beauty berries!???
it's even fun to say!
beauty berry bushes!
thank you for this treat!
here's just one more exclamation point for good measure! LOL.
love and hugs,

S. Etole said...

So wonderfully descriptive of an autumn so different from ours.

S. Etole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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The Silver Bunny said...

What a lovely post, Becky, as beautiful as those berries !

Hanne Bente said...

Hello Becky
Beautiful picture you show.
Can read that it is autumn in Florida and you fill up the year in November.
My oldest Sun fills the year in November (21.11.)
Wish you a good day / good new week :)
Hugs Hanne Bente

Nancy said...

Love the comment about the license plates entering the state.

What a lovely glimpse of your changing weather. I can't even imagine open windows in November, allowing such rich scents to waft through.

My brother sends me Christmas pictures of his kids in Florida, and you're right. There is something strange about the snow-less tinsel.

Leslie said...

did i know you were a november baby, like me? it's my favorite month, too :)

lovely write - felt a bit like cross creek, at times.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

What a perfect post. Perhaps we notice the "fall" in warmer climates due to our time spent up north. At my house, the windows are open and I've picked up a few new things for the garden. Pansies and snapdragons. New herbs and squash plants. I think I might try your lima bean suggestion.

Love the lines about the license plates. Enjoy -

Pamela said...

I could smell the ocean and the warm scent of Florida. I just told my daughter yesterday I needed a trip to Florida. I don't think I've ever been there in the autumn so enjoyed your beautiful writing.

yaya said...

There's beauty in so many places in this fabulous country. We are so lucky to live where the seasons change...or's so great to sample both. I hope you enjoy your winter wonderland where I can only dream about when the snow is flying up here!

RuneE said...

I haven't been to Florida at any time of the year, but I see that it will be tempting when the time for show-shovelling comes :-)

Linda said...

So pleased to be reconnected with you again after our Italian retreat time (only too short). Your description of Autumn days in your second home is compelling. Enjoy all the delights of the season!

Hanne Bente said...

Hello Becky
Just inside to say hello, and thank you for your comment.
Google translate can not put "Enchanting." - Do not know what it meant .... maybe WAU?
Wish you a good Sunday :)
Hugs Hanne Bente

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Ya ya do enjoy your summer garden and all the precious goodies that will come from it. I'll be thinking about your sunny days while the fire place is sending warmth to my livingroom.
May your days be blessed.