On some nights, sitting over a meal or drinks with friends the subject has turned to the circumstances of living here in Florida at the edge of a surf hammered paradise, the reasons we do and the reasons we occasionally consider folding up the beach umbrella, shaking the sand off our feet and heading off to bluer skies. The start of these discussions, and perhaps it is more accurate to call them musings, is not from any real dissatisfaction or quandary, but more from the perspective of alternatives. Is the grass greener or water bluer on the other side? Probably not, but that idea hasn’t done much to interrupt my pondering.
Having recently come home from spending a few days in another part of Florida, return sight of the familiar east coast came with the kind of heart tug typical of country western songs. It was good to be home. No question a lot of it lies in the fact that we get used to things, familiar sights and the relaxed comfort of routine choices. Returning to those sights and choices is in some way like the return to a temporarily denied sedative. Home sweet home they call it. Expressing this feeling in a book of short letters remembering home, one person wrote: ‘The place where I don’t need a map, when I walk within my heart—I would like to walk along that road again.’ It is a brief description that cuts to the core of what we call home.
On Thursday I walked along that road again and with ardor made fresh by temporary absence, the Atlantic looms bluer, the clouds spell out welcome and the faces smile hello, welcome back. Anyone living in Florida’s warm coastal climate will tell you that the months between January and April are the snowbird season, a time when rental condos are mostly full and the restaurants and shops are bristling with customers. One snowbird season has been enough to prove that quiet takes a holiday, that boisterous grandkids will rattle the rails and bingo will reign. And yet Thursday morning found me uncaring of that minor deprecation, happy on my patio with breakfast and the familiar sight of pelicans skimming across the heave of ocean that seems bluer than anywhere else.