Thinking about Florida

I'm in a different world down here. Not one radically different than the world of Wisconsin, but a much different climate which has altered the thoughts and practices behind the development of the Floridian society. Houses built for heat rather than cold. Flamingos and White Cranes stalk the beaches, rather than black birds eying grassy plains.

Cheese doesn't really exist down here, which makes me sad.. but my disappointment is immediately expunged at their abundance of crab, salmon, and other delicious seafood. The heated climate also gives birth to a beautiful variety of fruits, some strange, some familiar. I don't need String Cheese for a snack, when I can pick up a Mango or quickly fry up some super-cheap salmon fillet. Also, I think if you're going to eat mangos raw, use a knife rather than sinking your teeth into it. Maybe mine was not ripe, but it was much tougher than I thought.

Most of you know this, but I came down to Florida to visit my friend in the military, Justin. With my 10-year High School Reunion only 2 weeks away, It has really been 10 years since he decided to join the service out of high school and has been jumping back and forth between different trainings and posts. Along the way, he started a family and has 2 kids, Alex (3) and Eric (1).

Little children are an interesting specimen. No matter how righteous or enlightened you think you are, you were once this frail little person that does absolutely nothing with their time. I'm a strong believer that environment is the key resource to how a child is shaped into the adult they become and the environment is larger what you put into it because they learn by watching you. The bigger influence you are in their lives, whether it be interaction, your environment, or your decisions, the more they'll become you later in their life. Eh, but what do I know on the subject anyways, right?

Anywho, Florida is like an oven. During the day, the heat lamps are turned on and bake all the houses and roads and trees. It fills the earth with hot energy. But the people of Florida do everything to rid themselves of the heat. You walk around outside in 80, 85 degree heat, and enter a 65, 70 degree freezer every place you go. The chillness is an instant break from the humidity, but after a while you need a break from the cold. I think that's just expectations, though. I expect to be dying from the heat, but instead, I'm freezing.

The Floridian night has been my favorite part of the day because the heat lamps turn off and the humidity fails. The ground is still retains the heat from the course of the day, so your bare feet are never too cold. The air is still warm, but holds a soft breeze. It's not a chilling breeze or a cool breeze.. just ventilation really. Movement.

The sand of the Tampa beach is soft and fine. Walking along the receded shoreline feels more like tracking through mud than the beaches you'd find in the Midwest. I guess that's the difference of the sea's massive unrelenting waves savaging Florida, rather than the relative stillness of lakes. It's very soothing between my toes, which completes the entire scene on the beach here.

The vacant beach. The oozing sand massages my feet. The gentle warm breeze tickles the hairs on arm. The soft constant waves brush against my shins. And surrounded by a theater of fireworks in the distance. The pop, pop, pop and the brilliant flashes sparking and twinkling. It looks like a thin strip of Christmas lights along the horizon of the beaches across Tampa Bay with the few skyscrapers also lit up. Serenity graced with a stripe of chaos.

Romance comes to mind. Sharing this calm moment with a significant other. I wasn't alone though as Justin had been following me, and we'd been talking about our lives and what we thought of our positions in life. Where to go, what to do... Those type of questions.

Anywho, today is another day in the oven state and walking around on the sloppy beach sounds like a good idea, I might wait until sun fall though so it's not other cooler, but holding a couple beers doesn't set off any warning bells of public intoxication.

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