Autumn in Florida

Halloween is coming on. The stores are full of pumkins, the jack-o-lantern kind. We saw one the other day that was selling for $20! Other than the pumpkins, and some folks Halloween decorations in their yards, I would never know it’s fall. It’s still hot most days, around 90°, though less humidity. My hibiscus blooms. Dan just planted some new herbs for me that we bought at the weekly fresh market yesterday: rosemary, basil, and sage.

The fresh market is a pretty cool place, with vendors under canopies all up and down the street in the commercial waterfront district, selling everything from homemade cheeses, to hand-rolled cigars, tie-dye clothes, pottery (with the artist working at his pottery wheel), CBD candy, and fresh produce. Besides herb plants, we got Dan some hand-rolled cigars, and some unbelievable popcorn, and Dan bought me a very cool tie-dye dress, We try to go fairly often. It’s really nice to live in a small town that does this every week, in addition to having an artwalk twice a month. The artwalk is similar, without all the food products. But the galleries and stores are open, the restaurants all have music in their outdoor spaces.

Back to Halloween and fall….. I think the thing I miss most about fall is picking apples. Here, in FL, I saw Granny Smiths and Gala apples last week at the store. I miss going into the fields and picking a bushel of Cortlands, Empires, Delicious, Golden Delicious, MacIntosh, Honey Crisp, Fuji, along with Galas and Granny Smiths. Enough to make apple crisp, apple pies, applesauce. I loved being out in the fresh autumn air, riding the hay wagon around the orchard to the different kinds of trees, and ending the day with hot cider and fresh apple fritters. And, at one of the orchards, I could buy pumpkins for $.25 a lb. I bought the small sugar pumpkins here a couple weeks ago, and cooked them to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but it’s hard to pay $8 for a jack-o-lantern pumpkin I used to buy for $3 or $4.

As for Halloween…..I don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters, in fact, last year I got none. Back in CT, I would get about 300, literally. I kind of miss that. I usually had a friend over to help me pass out candy. If it was nice we’d sit on the front steps and have a drink and admire the kids costumes.

So there are a couple of things I do miss….but they are counter balanced by a 75° morning where we could sit on the deck with our coffee, and talk, and watch the birds and the squirrels run along the back fence or traverse the banyan tree. Counter balanced by the thought that maybe tomorrow or Friday we can go to the beach again. Counter-balanced by sitting outside on a perfect night at open mic tomorrow, and at a local music fest on Friday night. A lot of people don’t know it, but October and November are beautiful months in Florida. It’s still in the 80’s during the day, maybe down to 70° at night. The Gulf of Mexico temperature is still in the low 80’s.

Choices. We all make choices. Even though fall in New England is incomparable with the thick woodlands exploding with color, it means winter is not far behind, and that always took the joy of it from me. I gladly traded the apple picking and the Halloween trick-or-treaters for the warm days and evenings. I trade the winter’s frigid temps and piles of snow for a summer that’s incredibly hot and wet. It’s not perfect anywhere, but Florida’s climate suits me.

Love and light, all.

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