Fall always has been this Floridian’s favorite season — for reasons both natural and psychological.
- Florida seasons are 180 degrees different from seasons north of us. Summer, for example, is our most challenging season just as winter is the harshest season in, say, North Dakota. In colder climates, spring is celebrated. Winter is over. Here in Florida, fall (eventually) heralds the end of heat, humidity, biting insects and hurricanes. We can open our windows in late fall. And winter is heavenly. Think about it: our fall is like a northern spring. Our winter is like a northern summer. Fall in the north is a little bittersweet: nice, but everyone knows dreaded winter and snow-shoveling is on the way. Spring in Florida is similarly bittersweet. We enjoy it while it’s here, but soon we’ll be worrying about hurricanes and zika.
- A lot of folks who move to Florida, and even a few natives, never outgrow their attachment to what constitutes “Autumn” in other places, namely the changing of leaves, pumpkins growing in patches behind wooden fences, men in flannel shirts chopping wood, apple butter slathered on homemade bread. Get over it.
- Our fall is different. It’s about bird migrations, fish migrations, the lack of humidity and rain, the occasional cool crisp mornings. Folks who seldom venture into their backyards — who don’t know a cardinal from a crow — probably won’t recognize fall. Likewise, a diner who habitually orders salmon in the restaurant might not be excited on Oct. 15 when stone-crab season begins. Stone crabs are another sign of fall. So are mullet, schooling by the millions, getting ready to spawn.
- I feel the same way about citrus. I don’t want to eat oranges from California or Mexico. Nothing wrong with them, but I am a Floridian. I look forward to the first navels of the season in late September and early October. To me, native navel oranges speak volumes about fall. For the same reason, I never drink orange juice concentrate. Fake juice. It has to be fresh-squeezed fruit from a Florida tree. It’s something I look forward to every fall.