The sky looks smudged today. I have a particular fondness for days with smudgy skies. When the clouds threaten (or deliver) rain and the wind sweeps around me like it wants to pick me up off my feet and carry me away, I feel a lovely sense of calm.
Smudged weather reminds me of my childhood in the hurricane festooned Florida West Coast.
My dad lived in a house with a dock. Every time I stepped out of his house, I stepped into the salty sea-flavored air that swallowed his back yard. Some days we’d have an especially strong sea breeze gusting through the house, slamming doors and rattling shutters. Every night, I ran through the yard, as the land breezes whipped around me. I felt like I was some sort of weather mage, harnessing the wind to run faster and faster while it pratically carried me off my feet. I played in my mother’s discarded dresses to hear the excessive fabric rustle in the breeze and get tangled around my legs.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this, because this was going to be my official post about NaNoWriMo, but one glance out the window today reminded me of those windy nights.
This is the sort of thing I miss most about Florida. I miss the wind, the smell of the seaweedy ocean, and the palm trees. I don’t miss the beach but the water. I don’t miss the sun but the rain. I don’t miss the summers, but the floods that would eat our yard alive and make the whole world squishy. And, on the rarest occasions, I miss the power outages in the humidity laden air. My siblings and I would play hide and go seek in the dark until the humidity drove us to lay out on the tile floors in an attempt to keep cool.
It’s weird being a Florida native in a state full of Florida tourists, because the things I love to remember about Florida are the things everyone else hates about it. No one wants their summer vacation to be rained out or the wind to throw the sand in their face during the few precious days they have on the beach every year.
But rainy days are the best days to visit Disney and Busch Gardens, because that is when the rest of the world has vacated them. And I loved windy nights on the beach with my friends. We talked for hours, while the wind carried the sound of our voices away as if it were conspiring to keep our secrets safe.
I miss the people too. Of course I miss the people. I left family and some of my best friends there. Every time I return, it feeds my soul to see them again.
But when people say “don’t you miss Florida?”, the friends still there are not the first things to pop into my head. I think of the things that remind me of Florida and nowhere else.