Monday, July 21, 2008

Back again

Back in New York now, safe and sound after visiting the family in Florida. I had a great time, despite choosing one of the rainiest weeks in recent memory as my week to visit. Anyone who’s ever been in a Florida rainstorm knows they can get a little crazy, and I had to drive through one in particular that was like a half-hour-long car wash. (Me with my rusty driving skills!)

I love those storms, though -- their power and the blasted-clean feeling of the landscape after they pass. They cool things down and remove that hot, sweaty stickiness from the air. (Well, as much as it can be removed.)

I love Florida in general. It still feels like home to me. I know it so intimately -- all the lush summery grassy smells, and the plants and bugs and birds, and the architecture of the clouds. New York feels like home too, but in a different way -- culturally, maybe, and intellectually. Florida feels like home viscerally.

I always tell people I wouldn’t move back, but who knows. As my life’s circumstances change, anything is possible. I certainly still have roots there. The downside is, so much of what I love about Florida is constantly under siege -- the landscape, the flora and fauna, the old cracker culture. It can be a painful place to live, watching all of that fall to bulldozers.

The two sightseeing highlights of the week were going to Dunedin and Clearwater Beach with my mom, brother, sister-in-law and adorable niece, and driving up the coast from Tarpon Springs to Hernando County on a different day with my mom. I also saw lots of friends and spent time with my dad and my family on his side.

And now, back to the grind!

(Photos: Top, coastal Hernando County, Fla.; bottom, sponge boats in Tarpon Springs.)


  1. Steve, I glad you had a wonderful trip. I enjoy Florida, except for the oppressive humidity!

  2. Welcome back!

    I love the whole Tampa / St. Pete area of Florida best. (having lived with an Aunt down there when I was a kid for 8 mos.--She took me to a Jose Gaspar parade ) If I ever lived in Fl. I'd choose that area, even though I've been to Key West and Miami more often. I have gone back to Tampa/St. Pete for business a few times and to see the Dali Museum, so I see it's still as gorgeous and lush as it was when I was 10 yrs. old.

  3. Dennis says he thinks Florida probably smells good because of the tropical flowers and trees and stuff.

  4. I like Florida too - I have family in Boca Raton, a friend in Jacksonville, and my step-grandmother lives in St. Petersburg. My aunt used to own a vacation home on Marco Island, and I lived in the state for 6 months back in the early 1990's. I think I feel the same way about Seattle as you do about NYC, too - Pennsylvania will truly always be "home", though Seattle is too, just in a different way. Not sure what Buffalo will become. I think Paris was my home in another life - I feel so comfortable there - it feels "natural" to me. Just like you say that Florida isn't the same - I feel that way about NYC. While I still love it there, it's simply not as raw as it once was, and it's lost some of it's allure and magic in my view,

  5. welcome home to the cyberhood! yet another home!!

    you had such a lovely vacation, even with the rain...however, seeing family and friends can make up for a string of soggy days. and geez the skies in these pics!! gorgeous!!!!

    enjoyable post... however, you must define 'old cracker culture' I might not know what that means for if it means what I think it mean, I might not be too sad to see that fall - maybe cracker has more meaning than the derogatory understanding I have of the term.... I've always associated it with racism...

  6. Kim: "Cracker" is just a term for native Floridians. You're right that there is an unsavory racial history there, but I associate the word "cracker" more with the old-timers I grew up around, who were kind and generous people. (Of course, I was white and so were who knows.)

  7. i wondered about that too.

  8. welcome back!

    I love FL too- Lived there for a few years in my mid-late 20's.

  9. I could see it, smell it, and feel it once again as you described it. There are many things I loved growing up in Florida, but not many I'd move back for. I remember Florida rains as being severe but quick, with the sun out again half and hour later.

  10. the rain. oh yes - I remember a wild ride from Mexico Beach to our son's place outside Tampa, with stretches of road surfing I will never forget!

    thanks for posting the photos - they bring back many pleasant memories at this end.