South Florida makes me smile. Blue sky, warm sun on my skin. Sunglasses out of its case for the first time since I left Fort Lauderdale five days ago. Four days in the Northeast is about all I can stand.
There’s something to be said, I am sure, for a brisk walk in the crisp air, the feathery spikes of frost on a window pane, a blanket of white snow carpeting the ground, trimming the trees, and piling high on power lines. I am not the one to say it. I remember standing swaddled in a nylon snowsuit, snowbanks towering over me. I thought God had put me with the wrong family; surely I belonged with one in Florida. I moved South of the Mason-Dixon line as soon as I was old enough to do so. Baltimore was not warm enough, so eventually I moved to South Florida with little more than a Doberman and a dream of being able to stay. It has not always been easy.
My plane left Albany on a morning as gray as all the others of my Thanksgiving stay. Approaching Fort Lauderdale, the noonday sun reflects off canals and catchment lakes, turning them into sheets of hammered gold. Swaths of green are cut by black ribbons of roads as the plane descends. Grand homes on large lots yield to those closely huddled around cul de sacs.
In the first flush of leaving the terminal, all my gripes, fears, worries and concerns vanish in a rush of agape for this place. I love the feel of vitamin D soaking into my skin. The air kisses my face. I am home.