Category Archives: Seasons

Stop saying Florida has no seasons,instead open your eyes.

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Stop saying Florida has no seasons,instead open your eyes.

I get it, Florida is hot almost all year. I used to say the same thing. Florida has no seasons only hot and hotter. Then I really started looking, and taking walks.  Florida is so much more subtler than the northern states as we don’t get snow. Well , okay maybe once every twenty years we get snow but really. We do have trees that change leaves. We don’t have the grandeur and splendor of all our trees changing and turning our vistas into red and yellow and orange explosions. We do however have trees that change color and they are often interspersed with the green. It takes paying attention to see the seasons in Florida. The sunlight does change. The way it hits the trees. The colors when it sets. It is all constantly changing just a smidge and before you know it there is a new season.

December Sunset

December Sunset

April Sunset

April Sunset

February Sunset

February Sunset

March Sunset

March Sunset

The flowers are constantly changing as well. We have a variety of flowers blooming at different times. It is just something you have to make time to pay attention to.

March flowers

March flowers

February Flowers

February Flowers

If you are paying attention to your surroundings you will also see the sunlight changing. The things it lights up, the way it lights up things , it is always changing.

Sunlight in March

Sunlight in March

Sunlight in January

Sunlight in January

Sunlight in october

Sunlight in october

Sunlight in November

Sunlight in November

In order to see these changes you need to be outside, you need to be looking for them. It is hot, I know. It takes a bit of mindfulness. I will confess I am much better at noticing these things in the cooler months of November and December. I am really good however at also noticing them from the comfort of my car blasted with A/C.  Take a few extra seconds when you check to see if the way is clear to check out the plant life. At stop lights instead of being impatient for the light to change, look around. I really started noticing the changing of the seasons when I started taking pictures. All these pictures are just quick snaps on my phone camera.

Hammock view in January

Hammock view in January

Hammock view in April

Hammock view in April

We have trees that loose their leaves. It is just not all of our trees all at once.

We don’t always have beautiful blue skies but that doesn’t mean we can’t see the beauty of the seasons.

January

January Storms

March

March Storms

November

November Storms

As a coastal area we get fog instead of snow.  Even that can look different in different seasons, but apparently I only have one picture of that. Something to pay attention to and take more pictures of!

December Fog

December Fog

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All the Meme’s, #1000speak, April announcement

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When I get on the internet sometimes it is like this:

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Sometimes it even gets to this:

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I have enough pages and friends that I follow that I even get this :

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However this is often what happens

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Which is why I am so glad to be part of the initiative of 1000 Voices of Compassion. There is one day of positivity and good happy reading. We have had two great months of posts. I have to has gone a long way to helping me have faith in humanity on a regular basis. The best part is there is so much to read that I can go back when the news is a little overwhelming.  While March was a hard brain bending topic of Bullying and showing compassion, we had some just simply amazing pieces linked up.

April’s theme has been announced.

Nurturing. Which we brain stormed , so the link will take you to some prompts to get your brain going. Or to interest you into coming back to read and share the posts.

While that might not sound exactly like it is a hard concept, remember the overall theme is compassion and being positive.

While I know all these fantastic writers and followers of 1000 voices are great. I am pretty sure it is not like this

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Our goal is to help spread happiness and kindness , love and compassion around.

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We hope that we can share some of it with others and in turn they will share it with more others and soon others will spread it as well. Maybe we could even bring back unicorns!!! Okay well probably not but, I would love it to see if more people spit out rainbows instead of hate and anger.

TTOT 79 The Real Deal

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I kinda feel like I have been glossing over things on this list……so I am going to try and make it a bit more real. I know part of the thing is to focus on the good but I think I forgot to mention the downs too. That balance thing. Of course there will still be pictures but I want it to be a bit more of um…both, also known as real.

Monday

Wow was Monday a roller coaster of emotions. I did not want to get up. I did not want any responsibility to get a another human being somewhere. Coffee helped.  I got my cleaning job done. I got to talk to my sister who lives in California. I didn’t even know I had anxieties about her and her situation until after we talked and they were gone. Huh. Then I made a glitter bomb for a certain someone in England. I found something that just screamed her name this weekend. Making the glitter bomb in my car, perhaps not the best idea. Perhaps though it was because everytime I saw the glitter I giggled. Computer tutoring done and on to the post box and the grocery store. My energy plummeted dramatically after getting home from picking up the kid. So much to do, was feeling rather overwhelmed and truthfully a bit depressed about the limits of my body. Wow was that a run on sentence. I took some Ultracur and hoped it kicked in enough to get dinner done. It did. I am not however catching up on any cleaning whatsoever. Really I feel like I walked around with my emotions hanging out all over the place today.

However, Thankful I survived the day relatively in tact with food for my belly and a warm home.  That is three for anyone counting.

Tuesday

I got my walk in. It was odd. I was looking forward to it despite my body saying no. Despite the muscle spasms around my hips.  Despite not liking my new shoes and not enough support in them.  I didn’t feel stiff or sore until we stopped. Getting in the car-not pretty. Head home to try and clean up the house. Open the door to find the dog got in the trash.  Because I was not overwhelmed by the amount of house work I had to do already.

However I had a great lunch date with a friend to break up the overwhelming amount of cleaning to do.

Grateful for friends who provide an escape.

Grateful I was able to make a balanced dinner.

Grateful I realized I was having mostly first world problems and after a bit more pouting, moved on.

We did have an impromptu time with with Princess P. We fed the cows!

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Wednesday

Grateful I finally remembered to get my bloodwork done. It was only three vials and a urine sample this time. AW CRAP. I was suppose to walk around to the actual doctors office and make my “womanly” appointment. Sigh. Well one thing at a time.

Insanely grateful to Starbucks because COFFEE!! However it has also been a great place for me to get a crap load of writing done. I have kept content on my blog and gotten essays out to other outlets for publishing.

I think that brings us to eight.

SURPRISE I got to see my sister who lives in California and her boys.

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Thursday

Wow, Thursday it was like I got my groove back a bit. A great day of escape with my friend and christmas shopping. I got a laundry organizer and like a bakers hutch type thing for the front entry. Ridiculously excited about the laundry organizer.  It also turned out to be a highly productive day!

Grateful for friends is number nine.

Grateful for a chance to catch up on housework and feel productive.

Friday

Hey guess what I didn’t realize I was missing? Skin to skin time with squish! I don’t think I realized how strongly we are bonded.

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Then the solstice celebration and so many things just feel into place in my spirit that when we came home. I fell asleep and actually slept really really good. First time all week.

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Wait,What week are we on? TTOT 77

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Um. It some how got to be Wednesday before I even thought of starting this post. Oh well.

I didn’t even publish anything Wednesday either. Maybe Friday I will get my Starbucks time and really crank some stuff out. I do have a few people waiting on stuff.

This was the first week of working part time as Squish’s Nanny. For such a little guy and for as much as I came over to adjust. He is kicking my butt. Its a good thing he is so gosh darn cute.

Monday was not quite as chaotic as I expected.  Weekly lunch date with friend was super timely. We also splurged and had chocolate cake. Sometimes Mondays need a little pick me up. This thing is super decadent and we split it!

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Tuesday brought the first day of working. I am super thankful to have a job to go to, even a part time job, even if it is for a friend. We got a great walk in. We kept our pace pretty close to what it is when I am not carrying a baby. We even went .7 miles further than we normally do. It really was a fantastic walk. I managed to have enough energy to make dinner and get the kid to bed. Of course doing so much more my pain levels were much higher. It made it both harder and better for sleep. When I did finally get to sleep, I slept good.

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Wednesday as much as I really did not want to, I got up and got going. We even went on a walk. I was more interested in just moving and not pace. Never know what you will see on the inter-coastal. It was so interesting to see a coast guard boat. I looked it up and learned this is a bouy tender.  I watched them repairing one of the buoys but didn’t know there was a specific boat for it or that it was also a specific job. Grateful that I can learn something new everyday.

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The good news is we both survived the walk. I hate how walking both helps and doesn’t. Once I was warmed up the walk was fine. Afterwards the recovery was a bit rough. Squish actually cooperated and took a two hour nap. I took some ultracur and relaxed. Definitely pushing my limits but you know, I am not giving up.

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Then there was this sunset Thursday night.

Friday I took an impromptu hike because I saw the bald eagles that are nesting flying over, so I parked.  Even though the walks I take are outside, there is just something restoring about hiking in the woods.  I can’t even tell you how renewed I felt after. It is like a part of me is off and I didn’t even know it until it was back. Taking time to notice the small things, the way the light falls in the woods. It is just magical. I can not wait until the winter solstice ritual celebration!

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Trust me that middle picture is a bald eagle.  I must have been wearing Eagle Repellent because as soon as I parked they disappeared. Anyways afterwards I had a second shot of ginger. The first one happened before leaving the house Friday morning because muscles refused to work.  Ginger and Ultracur are the only reasons I survived this week.

There must be Ten things in there. I didn’t count. I don’t feel like going back and counting. It was a good week even if it was busy and my body told me how much it hates me. There must be something in the BoSR/SBOR (secret book of rules)about this. I am sure I read it. I am thinking I am probably the only one who has read to rule 729, that was where it was.  Rule 729 subsection b2 line three.

Autumn Equinox

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Grammar people- I did not edit this or worry about grammar in this blog post as I felt it would take away from some of the authenticity of my thoughts.

I have been struggling for a while to find what I truly believe. I finally realized a few years ago that part of my problem with religion and spirituality was because I didn’t truly believe it. Part of the struggle has been letting go of what I was taught and part of it has been finding what I do believe in. I feel I am starting to get somewhere. When my walking partner told me her kids were still sick and thus unable to go for our walk. I was tempted to just not go. Then I realized it fell on the autumn equinox and I felt led to find a walking meditation to listen to. I tried several choices off youtube. They were not what I was looking for. Then I found one. Sage Goddess  had an hour long ritual and it was simply titled Fall Equinox Ritual. This was it. This resonated with me right from the start.

Now a bit of backstory is that I have been walking this trail for four weeks consistently. I did however walk it a lot last fall and winter. The first thing I noticed when we started back up on this trail was how dry everything was. The first two weeks of walking this trail I was just continually amazed at how little life there was along the sides of the trail. This was a trail we had seen alligators and turtles, gopher tortoises and even otters. It saddened me a little truth to tell. I understand it was the circle of life but still. Even last week on Thursday when we walked it was still dry. There was no water visible. There however had to be water somewhere as the frogs were back. They were singing their songs again.

Today the trail found me in amazement again. It was now Tuesday. Five days had passed. There was water. There was so much water. There was at least a foot deep of water if not more in some parts. Some areas it stretched back as far as ten to fifteen feet.  This was the trail I had fallen in love with last year.

As Sage Goddess talked about the story behind the equinox. There are many but this one was dealing with Demeter and Persephone and Hades. I had heard it before. However I had never felt the depth of emotion I felt when she told the story. I understood Demeter’s anguish and it suddenly made more sense why the light was softer in the fall.  There was just so much emotion I felt and could relate to in this story. It was like. Oh this is why I embrace fall so much.

Now many people who live in Florida say there are no seasons. I beg to differ. There is. They are just very subtle changes and you really do have to be paying attention. The change in the sunlight is always what I notice first. Soon after the air feels different. Less oppressive somehow. There is a slight change in the plants, the rain makes them fuller more alive, more colorful. We do have leaves that change colors. They just are not as many so you have to look carefully for them. Maybe it is because I take my walks outside twice a week minimum. I just have always felt fall the strongest though.

As I walked I found myself drawn more and more inwards and even despite walking felt grounded after Sage Goddess led us through a grounding practice.  Really it was a good thing that my pedometer kept interrupting every ten minutes as it forced me to look up and take in my surroundings.  My cats had knocked my cord out of the wall sometime in the night. So where I thought I had a fully charged phone. I was shocked to discover a mile and half into my walk that my phone battery was dying.

Sage Goddess had set the circle and was calling the four corners. I have always known I am considered an air element/East. However I have never fully related to any of the descriptions until now. I tend to relate the descriptions to personality and I really felt she had found me. Then she called Fire/south which is my daughters sign. Again everything she described I could relate into my daughters personality. She described us so beautifully and perfectly.

Sadly my phone died right after calling the four corners. However, my senses were so awakened. I tried to gather my thoughts for a letter to tell Sage Goddess how much just even that thirty minutes meant to me. I found it was much better suited to a blog post.

I spent most of the walk back looking off to the side. Noticing the little things. The song of the frogs was much louder and stronger. Their songs even seemed happier. We are wet, we are alive, we are happy.  There were so many little chickadee type birds flirting from branch to branch to water to branch. It may seem odd to see flowers blooming in Fall but that was what was happening. These were wetland flowers and they were showing how happy they were with the recent rain. They were bright and vibrant and almost seemed boastful and proud. Pinks and purples, yellows, whites and even a few red in color.  I saw a gopher tortoise hole and I wondered if anyone was way down deep in there. Enjoying the humid wetness of the soil.  A little further on I saw the gopher tortoise. He too seemed to be saying,” yes , this makes me happy.” The far off distant rumble of thunder had me thinking please clouds just hold off until I get to my car. Then I thought. well if it does, it might be just as cleansing as this walk has been. Before I knew it I was almost done with the second half of my walk. Here it was more obvious the plants had loved the rain. They seemed to have doubled and the sunlight that hit the new green of freshly grown leaves was just stunning.  There was Lantana blooming. They are my favorite and bring back so many childhood memories of picking them.

Fall is here. The trail is alive once more. I no longer worry that I will get bored walking the same trail twice a week. I now look forward to noticing all the subtle changes and hope again to glimpse some otters. The walk that normally takes an hour and twenty minutes took a few minutes less. I had a better more consistent pace. This walk was just the thing I needed. I felt grounded and restored like I haven’t felt in quite a while.

I will finish the Fall Equinox Ritual later today.  I am linking it here for anyone else who wishes to listen or practice.

 

Summer break week one(June 1 to 7th) -preview

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So this is technically the first week of summer break. June first through June seventh. I will post on June eighth what actually happened. If you follow me already , you know there will be lots of pictures. This may seem like a trivial thing but when you have chronic illnesses that deter you from functioning , a plan goes a long way. This is just what is PLANNED. We all know how arthritis and Fibro like to mess with plans. I will report back on how they interfered as well. I hope this can and does inspire other mothers , fathers, care takers who have chronic illness to enjoy the summer without feeling guilty and without too many flares. There will be plenty of time for the kid to have free time.  She does however thrive better if she has some structure. She has been doing well on her reading and I plan on challenging her to read an hour at least three times a week if not more. She is currently reading thirty minutes so this will be an increase.  We are also planning on reading at different places. I am hoping this will help her filter a little better and increase her focus.

This first week starts off slow. Monday is a half day of school. Technically they have school but they are watching movies and playing all day. There are also not a lot of kids planning on going. Since I have to clean in the morning she is going for the morning.

Monday: Drop kid off at school at eight thirty. Go to cleaning job. Go to Farmers market.Pick up kid after lunch. Come home. read outside with the dogs for an hour.

Tuesday : Sleep in. Read for an hour. Clean the house day. including the kid’s room

Wednesday: Take kid on four mile walk round trip. Take her scooter so she doesn’t complain too much. let her cool off in the lake. pack a snack. come home. Read for an hour.

Thursday: Nine am Math tutoring lesson.  Pack up and go to the beach. Set alarm for every seventy minutes to reapply sunscreen.Read for an hour at the beach.  Picnic lunch at the beach. Come home. Hopefully not too sunburned.

Friday we have a movie at the library. They are watching Planes. Then we will probably have a picnic lunch. We will then drive about twenty minutes south and arrive at another library for a two pm Archaeology class. This is the description of the class:

Description:
 Look under a microscope with USF Archaeologist Rebecca and discover artifacts from the past you never knew existed. See how these scientists solve historical mysteries. Ages 6-13.
Saturday: Dragonfly nature walk….a guided walk in a park we visit often.
I can’t wait to see if it lives up to the description! I am also hoping to be able to sit in. I adore this kind of science!
Well that is the first week. We will see what all gets done!

Tuesday Ten- summer bucket list

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The Golden Spoons

This year’s Summer bucket list.

1. Beach: Let me expand on that since we live in Florida. My goal is to get to the beach at least once a week. It is a lot more labor intensive then people think. Especially when going with kids. Sunscreen, Water, Snacks. Blanket. Book, Towels, Buckets and Shovels, Ziplock bags(for shells and other “treasures”)  Then the clean up and the miles of sand that ends up everywhere. But I am determined. Plus its free.

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2. Hiking: I want to also hit a nature trail at least once a week. I have some planned that are a bit of a drive but also I just want to keep up with my walking and also keep my daughter interested in fitness.

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3. visit from friends: I have a friend who is planning a visit. It only happens once a year. I am looking forward to all of it.  Seeing her, seeing my town through her eyes.

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(doesn’t she take the best pictures?)

4. Science: We have buckets of science planned. From library classes to dissections to aquariums and museums. The best part is the library classes are free and they run from squids, to germs, to invertebrate animals, even an archaeology class.

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5. Art class: This is a fun one. My daughter gets to do a pottery class. I get four hours twice a week kid free. I kinda want to do some of the pottery stuff with her but its her deal. Maybe we will get modeling clay so we can practice huh.

6. Reading: Oh the reading. We have been stacking up books for the last month. We may have gotten a bit carried away but we are okay with that. READ ALL THE BOOKS!

7. Disney camping trip: We are camping at Fort Wilderness. We are going to Epcot. We have planned it so that we get there one day, we go to Epcot another, we have another to relax and then head home.

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8 Learn to knit: This is a class I am hoping to sneak in on. We have been practicing sowing and she wants to do more and more things.  So maybe we can learn this one together.

9. Sleep in . Most of the classes and things scheduled don’t start until at least nine. So I don’t have to get out of bed before eight am! I am so so so looking forward to doing that and can’t wait to see the end tally of how many days I actually accomplished it!

10. Surprises: It may be an odd thing to have on a bucket list. I want surprises. It would not be as fun if everything we planned went exactly as planned. It is often the things that happen by surprise that make things better.

I will have to do a post at the end of the summer to see how many of these actually happen!

Nature’s Gift

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Today I turned a year older. I didn’t really want presents. I have no room for anything and really don’t need anything. Instead I wanted to go on a hike at a new place with friends. I had seen pictures of a place that was a bit of a drive but still near by that intrigued me. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. I just can’t even begin to tell you how perfect it was.

There are quotes on plaques at certain spots along this boardwalked path. Between the sighs and sounds of the preserve, and the quotes. Nature was talking to me. Letting me know that I am on the right path and to keep it up. It was nourishing in a way I didn’t even realize I needed.

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“You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait something happens” Henry David Thoreau.

The soft sunlight, the smell of cypress and the chatter of birds in the trees. It was all just so perfect.

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“Falling in love with the Earth is one of lives great adventures. ” Steve Van Matre

Its true. It was like falling in love with the Earth all over again. Every step. Every new discovery. Every new enjoyment from the kids.It doesn’t matter that we have lizards and squirrels. These were here now! We saw them! It was right there! Watching their delight was truly a gift. Using our imaginations and just taking our time walking. We even saw a tree looking at us!

 

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It was truly an enjoyable walk. It was exactly what I wanted. It was gorgeous weather. The humidity and barometric pressure were steady, important tidbits when dealing with arthritis.  We lost track of time watching the turtle weave around the pond. We delighted in watching them eat the algae.  It was a secure enough trail that we felt confident enough to let the kids wander ahead of us.  Letting them explore and make their own discoveries.

 

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Its camouflaged  very well but I promise you there is an alligator in this picture. We watched him rather lazily swimming around for a bit.

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I can’t even imagine what it was like here even just fifty years ago. These trees are relatively small for cypress. There were some bigger ones. I just love the cypress knees sticking up.

 

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heron

 

I think one of my favorite things was how many Yellow crown night heron’s we saw. It was like once we saw one we kept seeing them. We even got to watch one eating a fish.

 

It was the perfect escape and the perfect way to turn a year older.

 

We followed this with a visit to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The kids were super excited for smoothies.  It was all very delicious and the food came fast enough that the kids didn’t get too delirious and were so well behaved. Enough so that they even got cookies.

 

If I was an apple? Asked the apple snob

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NaBloPoMo October 2013
Writing Prompt for Monday October 7th 2013
If you were an apple, which type of apple (Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, etc) would you be and why?

Well I am an apple snob to begin with. I am super picky about my apples. To the point that if the first bite isn’t perfect, I won’t finish it. Luckily I have a kid that is not so much of an apple snob. We mainly only like red apples. Green apples are impostors. (Just like green grapes aren’t grapes)

We like Fuji and Pink Ladies and Gala are good too. My favorite of favorites though is the Honey Crisp.  The first bite of one was pure joy. If I was an apple I would be a honeycrisp. The Red color giving a deceiving look that it is just like any other apple, but its inside. Oh  it’s inside is a wonderful mix of firmness, sweetness and tartness. At one time it was slated to not be made anymore as it is a hybrid of sorts, that was when its true appeal started and now its a coveted commodity.  When its the right time for us to shine, we do.

I remember speaking with the lady who ran the farmers market where I discovered them and she said how it was a shame they were only available for such a short time. I started looking into that with my best friend Google. I learned a lot about apples in general that day but that was also the day I fell in love with Honey Crisp Apples.

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Autumn has no favorites!

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NaBloPoMo October 2013

 Today’s writing prompt is What is your favorite thing about Autumn?

I think the better question would be what don’t I love about autumn.

In Florida we don’t have the dramatic change in leaves like the north does. We do have some.  It’s not the change of the leaves that captures my attention the most though. People that say we don’t get changes of season are not really looking. Florida has a raw beauty to it but the seasons do change here.  We might not get snow but we do get cold, and we do get hot. We get a lot of hot.

I love being outdoors. I don’t however love the heat that Florida’s  “Spring” and Summer bring. Autumn is my time to soak it up. The light is different, clearer, brighter, cleaner than it is at any other time. There is a freshness that I just can’t explain.  It even has a fresh clean crisp smell to it. It almost feels alive.

What some of you don’t know is I have multiple chronic illness’s. In the Summer , in the heat, being outside takes a lot out of me. I start to miss the outside by mid-July.  With chronic illness’s it is easy to fall into depression. When I am not outside regularly, I walk the line between depression and not very carefully. It is very easy for me to fall at this time.

In Fall the temperatures are just right for me. Typically the temperature doesn’t get below 65 and doesn’t go higher than 90.  70 to 75 is about perfect for me.  This is the time that I can spend hours and hours outside. Reading in the shade, walking the trails around our neighborhood. With the temps at this range my joints and muscles tend to be the happiest. This is when I really feel like I thrive.

The sun goes from blazing hot humid and miserable to hot dry and has an almost baking heat to it. I love it!  It feels wonderful on my joints. With Fibromyalgia heat can be helpful if it is the right kind of heat.  A dry heat is perfect for me.  I do get cold easily but I can handle being cold much better than I handle being hot.  The heat that we get in Fall is the perfect mix for both my muscle pain and my joint pain. I really just thrive over all. It is hard to say specifically why.

Orange brown russet red and even some greens, these are my preferred colors.  To me these colors are very grounding and bring a lot of comfort. The sky comes alive with colors as the sun sets. The way the light hits the tops of the trees and highlights the orange and yellow and red leaves, yes even in Florida.  Not long ago I would have been in with the group that says Florida has two seasons hot and hotter, and we don’t have changing leaves. That is another thing that having to slow down due to chronic pain/illness has brought me. I notice the small things.  Sometimes it is just one tree that is changing. One tree that is colorful in the midst of all the green.

The food that is in harvest is some of my favorites. Squash , apples,pumpkin pie, all these things are made better with ice cream. Okay well maybe not the squash but it IS fabulous in soup! I have a serious addiction to squash soup! The smell of fresh apples baking, pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven, even caramel dip’s rich aroma for the apples. Apple bread and hot cocoa can do a lot to right the wrongs at the end of the day.

So you see there is just not one thing about Autumn that is my favorite. Actually I can’t think of a single thing I don’t love about Autumn.

Wanna know more about this NaBloPoMo stuff?
http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo