“The leaves are falling, the colors are wonderful – SPRING HAS ARRIVED!”
Those of you who are not from sunny Florida may be a bit confused by this…so an explanation is in order. We ACTUALLY DO HAVE SEASONS in the sub-tropics, but they are not as severe as in other places north of us.
In Central Florida, the first bout of cooler weather comes with the Volusia County Fair, normally in the first ten days of November. We can count on the hogs and rabbits and chickens being on display with some nights that dip in to the forties. The Scrambler can get a little chilly on those nights. However, autumn does not bring the bright colors of turning leaves as our neighbors to the north experience. No, our leaves turn a dull-green-to-light-brown color, and a few decide to fall to the ground – dependent on the type of tree, of course. Winter arrives slowly, and by January things are just a bit dull. The leaves are dull, the grass (and weeds) turn brown-ish, and everything is just a little depressing.
Winter in our neck of the woods brings a predictable cycle, though. We get a bit of cooler weather with clear skies. Each day the weather gets a little warmer, with more and more clouds, until finally we have a bit of rain, usually in a line that stretches across the state and moves from northwest to southeast. Behind that line, cooler weather, and the cycle starts all over again. Each cycle is six to ten days, and we get ten or twelve cycles each winter, ending with…Bike Week in Daytona.
Bike Week is the first full week of March every year. With the coming of the Harleys and the Indians and the Hondas and Kawasakis each spring also comes Springtime. When they leave, we know that there will be no more nights in the thirties and forties, no more cold fronts from Canada, and yes, the leaves will fall.
Florida Leaves are really pretty tough. They hang on all winter, braving the cooler weather and wind trying to stay around as long as possible. But at the end of February, the azaleas start to bloom and last year’s leaves know that their time has come and gone. It is time to go. So in one motion, the leaves let go and fall to the ground.
New growth is bright green – and the trees all seem to take on the “bright-green-sticks” look all at the same time. And the explosion of bright green means that Spring has Sprung in Central Florida, welcoming all that makes Florida great. March and April in Florida are the Best Kept Secrets In The World, when the kids are still in school, the weather is perfect, and except for the occasional college spring breaker, the parks and other recreational areas are reserved for us Floridians. Sunday drives through the back roads in the convertible are common; a stroll on the beach with an ice cream cone on the way home are preferred; and dining on the patio is fun and romantic.
So for those of you who have to wait until May or even June for spring to arrive…well, too bad. Here in Central Florida, it is right around the corner.