Friday, July 2, 2010

At Home in South Florida

Although through accident of fate, and then by choice, I have ended up living in South Florida, I often complain about the drivers, the heat, the rudeness I experience here.  I'm not taking any of that back, you understand, but I do want to share some of the things that I love about living here, and they all have to do with nature.

If you'd told me 20 years ago that I would love living in a house (my own house for that matter), I wouldn't have believed it.  As an inveterate New Yorker, I felt that there was no better or more sophisticated abode than an apartment.  Paying rent was better than paying a mortgage...With an apartment you don't have to worry about the lawn, plumbing and electrical problems, security issues, leaky roofs, etc. I always thought.  And, I always liked the idea of being encased in the cocoon-like feel of a nice substantial building.  Once within its walls, I felt safe.  After all, burglars can't creep up the walls to reach your 3rd, 4th or higher-floor apartment, can they?

Stoking my passion for apartment living was a constant barrage of photos in upscale magazines or in The New York Times, showing the beautifully-appointed apartments of upscale New Yorkers.  It was aspirational and achievable at the same time.

Now, years later, I am in South Florida and Roger and I are sharing the house we bought last year.  It's not the biggest house, nor the best-landscaped in town, but we love it.  We're particularly enjoying the front and back yards and the work we and our lawn guy have put into it.  For Roger, this is no surprise, since he lived as a child in rural North Carolina.  For me, who used to express her disdain for houses (as opposed to apartments), this is a revelation.

What do I love?  That although we live in a suburban area, we have touches that are pure country as far as I'm concerned:  raccoons, possums, many varieties of birds (including hawks), ducks who come begging, squirrels, lizards, frogs, and God-knows-what-else in the nighttime back yard.  I'm still a city girl, of course... I'm not going to touch any of these creatures (save for the ducks, if they'd let me), but I do enjoy them.

Next I enjoy the flora of South Florida.  Although we don't have one of these Tabebuia trees (yellow-flower tree in the photo below) on our property, they are a constant source of joy to me at springtime when they are in full bloom.   Their gorgeous yellow blooms would cheer anyone.

We are lucky to have an Orchid tree, though.  It blooms in the fall and slowly fills completely with the most-lovely smelling purple-to-lilac-to-rose colored orchids I've ever seen.  I never knew trees could have orchids, or that they could smell like the most wonderful perfume.

I also - and particularly - love the palm trees as they are ever-present where I was born (Santo Domingo).  Palms are beautiful to me and I always think of them as a symbol of Eden.  Whether it's the coconut-bearing variety, or the majestic landscape-worthy towering palm, to my eye, no tree is more beautiful.

Finally, when I list the pleasures of South Florida home-living, I must cite that of growing your own flowers, fruit and vegetables.  We planted a papaya plant and we've already eaten its fruits several times over.  They're sweet and wonderful and I'm sure all the better because they grew in our back yard.  We're now watching the growth of an avocado tree and potato, cucumber and squash plants that Roger's planted.  Every day there's a new development and it gives me a feeling no New York sidewalk ever did...

Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. Loved your blog. My sister and I being city girls (LA) always dreamed of living in the country (and one day we will). We know it can be different but we also know it can be rewarding... the peace, the nature and in your case: the fruits! Thanks for sharing your story. It was very inspiring.