There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
Seasons change subtly here in Florida. Some think the land is green and static all year long. If you watch carefully you can see the signs of transformation. Winter, with its cooling temperatures, clear skies and warm waters, is the reason for our tourist industry. Who wouldn’t want to escape the snow and ice to come to the land of paradise? But, the same warm waters and occasional arctic blasts combine to bring us some gloomy, foggy times as well. On those days, when the sun doesn’t emerge until afternoon, the tourists shiver in their beachfront motel rooms and peer in frustration through the mist. The real snowbirds are the robins that feast upon Brazilian pepper berries, get drunk on the fermented juice and fly crazily into cars and buildings. Spring arrives gradually, as well. Most of our trees stay green all year long, but in the spring, the oaks, like a packrat refusing to throw anything away, finally lose their leaves as the new grow pushes the old off their branches. Limbs change from the darker dense growth to a bright chartreuse lace. With the season comes a dense cloud of pollen covering cars in yellow dust. Orange blossoms fill the air with their fragrant scent. This is allergy season with watery eyes, wheezy chests and itchy noses. Like a prostitute, spring, the most inviting season for being outdoors, seduces us with her charm and then, traps us into a doctor visit. Summer is the season of longer days and hotter temperatures. With scorching sun during the day, the best time to be outdoors is evening after the almost daily afternoon rain shower. The humidity is high, but who can resist the opportunity to be outside after hiding all day in the air-conditioned respite of home or office? Summer brings rampant growth. Grass sprouts before your very eyes, and lawn mowers whirl constantly. In fall, wildflowers line the roadways. Ragweed blooms bringing allergies once more. Red and golden cypress trees glow in the weakening light. The hard green globes of citrus trees ripen. Temperatures drop slightly; just enough to give hope that the harsh grasp of summer is almost over. Fall is mullet season. Fisherman line the waterfront with their nets. The smell of their smokers fills the air. Monarch butterflies drift through on their way south. I cannot pick a favorite season. All have their beauty and rewards as well as their frustrations. As the year slips by, my life has its ups and downs as well. There are some things in life, I once was able to do, but family responsibilities prevent me from doing so right now. Someday, my children will be gone, and I will be free to participate in them again. Then, I am sure I will miss their company and the antics that leave me shaking my head in disbelieve. Nothing I can do will change the season in which I find myself, so I choose to enjoy each season while I can.