Sunday, October 28, 2007

South Florida Is Home

It doesn’t seem that it should be so difficult for a lifelong writer and diarist to post once a week, which seems the minimum appropriate to have an ongoing blog. Yet, much of what I write is too personal to share, a voyage of self-discovery. Universal truths may be part of that journey, but each of us must discover and apply these for ourselves. That’s why the journey is personal.

I spent the past week in Fairfax, Virginia, and that was a real journey both in time and space and in inner discovery. As I grow older, I contemplate whether Florida is the best place to grow old. I believe it would be better to live in a city with museums and other cultural and intellectual opportunities, as well as with good public transportation. Baltimore is one such city, and it has the familiarity of a place where I spent 10 of the best (and sometimes worst) years of my life. But like many cities, it also has crime.

And, as the trip to Virginia illustrated, I already live in subtropical paradise. I arrived on a sunny, hot day, the end of an Indian summer heat wave. No one calls it Indian summer anymore; now its global warming and a sign of dire things to come rather than a respite from the cold and rain of winter. By the next morning, a cold front had arrived, and the rest of the time was spent with gray skies and rain of varying intensity.

The buildings, once charming to me for their federalist period facades of brick and stone, now seem hopelessly dated and dreary. Where are the clean white stucco exteriors, the sometimes Caribbean Popsicle colors, and the red tile roofs? Where are the palm trees and hibiscus?

I was happy to return to South Florida, to my messy apartment with its leak, my battle with the International Village condo association and the property manager to fix that leak, and the various trials and tribulations of ongoing life that we all experience. It is good to get away and better to come home.