When we arose for Mass and clambered into the car early Sunday morning (early, I say! it was all of five minutes till eight!), the thermometer informed us that it was a balmy seventy-five degrees. Seventy-five! With humidity somewhere closer to the normal non-swampy range and a light breeze to stir the still very green leaves every now and then. What amazing weather! the natives marveled with us. Why, sometimes it doesn’t get like this until December! You’re so lucky you arrived this year.
My mental translation: This is as good as it gets! Shudder. Perhaps it shouldn’t be this way, but one of the hardest things about being in Florida is the climate. Exotic birds, alligators, and armadillos are all very nice in their way; daily skyscapes featuring huge mounds of puffy cumulus that clearly signal the marshmallow fluff to go big or go home; evenings when the whole air turns orange, as if we were bathed in the light of some stranger sun on an alien planet; nearly full moons that hover just at the end of the street, inviting you to walk up and into them like a child in a Pixar film; enormous rainbows every couple of weeks … It’s all great. In June.
But this is October. And while some of those features are appropriate to the season (see: moon and clouds) the temperatures are definitely not. I want COLD. More specifically, I want it to be cold outside so I can enjoy being warm. For the past month I’ve been feeling an urge to buy a plaid shirt, never mind the fact that this is the worst time of the year to buy plaid (wait until after Thanksgiving when the markdowns start). I suddenly want to watch Charlie Brown and the Giant Pumpkin, or whatever that movie it was that I only saw twice as a kid and didn’t really care for either time. Or maybe Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. I mean, baby is still in utero, but it would be like booming Little Mozart tapes at him, no?
I’ve made pumpkin bread once, and it was pretty good, but it was NOT the same. I bought some apples, and they’re pretty cheap now—cheaper even I think than most of the citrus—but somehow baking an apple pie doesn’t feel right either. I found that marshmallow fluff for the fudge recipe, but … I just don’t have the heart. It would feel like a violation of some unwritten contract between myself and Mother Nature.
I want to see piles of leaves in front of the neighbors’ doorsteps. They don’t even need to be pretty leaves, the sort that people drive to see (people are weird) and take scrapbook photographs of (very weird)—the dull brown varietals will do. (Do the leaves even fall in Florida? They’ve got to at some point—those ARE deciduous trees that I spy across the swamp. Right? Right?)
We got the carseat a few weeks ago, but it still hasn’t been installed in the car. Every time I think about wrestling with it in the balmy seventy-five degree weather, I recoil back to my air-conditioned chair and suck some more ice cubes. (Great practice for those ice chips during labor, I’m sure.)
I shudder to think what Halloween will be like. As kids we always put our costumes over our clothes because you had to in order to stay warm. The grownups who followed behind wore coats or jackets, depending on the year. You had to eat candy, just to keep your body heat. (OK, maybe I’m making that part up—it’s not like we lived in Connecticut or Maine. But the idea of eating sweet sticky substances on the go while clad in a hot polyester garment … ugh. Chocolate is supposed to melt in your mouth, not your hands. Maybe I’m just not a kid anymore?
I think the real problem here is that the weather is getting to be what everyone calls “nice” just at the time when I want it to be getting “nasty”. Hostile weather is actually something I enjoy; the part of Fall that warms the cockles of my heart because the basement is now Too Cold to Play in (What is this mythical “basement”? the Floridians ask; How do any of them survive with children? is my reply) and the wood stove is about to be fired up, and maybe if we’re really careful Mama will let us heat cocoa or cider on top. Probably just cider, because we have too many apples on our trees, and it’s homemade and will go bad; and anyway everyone knows that you can’t have cocoa until it’s actually snowing outside.
Maybe I am still a kid.
P.S. I thought about putting up a picture of fall or peasants carousing at a harvest feast, but decided it would be too heartbreaking.