It rains in Florida all the time. Do they ever tell people that? Everyone knows about the notorious twenty-minute sun showers, but what about those summers where it storms every single day and you look out the window and the streets are flooded and there are cardboard boxes floating in the filth and all you can say is oh. It’s all I can ever muster. I spend most of my time here chasing the sunlight so fervently that I usually end up disenchanted. I am learning to surrender to nature’s course, though.
Growing up in Central Florida always made me feel anxious. I don’t belong here, my ten-year-old self would whine into my Composition Notebooks. northern states were romanticized to no end and I tried to spread my sentiments to all the neighborhood kids. They didn’t care. And every time the weather leapt into a sauna, I would plead with God to bring me a cold front. Anything but this, really.
When I left Florida in 2012, I was thrilled. I still am. Leaving was cathartic, as I had felt myself growing static. It was as if my limbs grew tired of fighting the heat and so I succumbed to reticence. I sometimes long for running through my parents’ three acres of Florida land and the autumn weather that is summer weather for most northern states, but I know I can’t go back. I’m not supposed to. Even so, I feel an urge to document it whenever I come home for holidays or family events. But with each visit I become more restless. I curse the soil with my feet planted on it, yet I beg for it to come a little closer when I’m gone. I make it out to be the dictator while I’m the oppressed, but, honestly, is that even true?
When I do come home, most of the spaces I feel myself drawing toward are those inhabited by the ones I love, whether they are occupying them or once were. It may be an imprint in a pillow or five seconds of bathing in the sunlight. Either way, it feels vital to savor it. I relish in their pasts and beg for their futures. These people are what cause me to come back, to search for something more again and again. But isn’t it always that way?
But when I step back even farther, I realize that this is for all of you. And while the rain beats against the shingles or the thunder makes the cat in the lawn jump ten feet or clouds threaten to disturb the sunlight peaking through the trees, I try to keep a mouthful of sun.