It is July.
It is Florida.
It rains in Florida in July.
That is why we call it,
"The Rainy Season."
Having said all that, this year is far from normal. Last year we slipped into the drought zone. I do not like cold and I do not like drought. I am more comfortable in an environment that insects do well in. I am fine in the 80s and low 90s, with humidity and a little breeze. But as I grow older I am sure that I have blended an entire childhood into the perfect summer of rain and showers. Enough humidity to just to start to curl my hair.
Since I have moved here I honestly can't say that I remember a normal summer, not really knowing what normal would be here. But think about it, I have lived here for 6 summers and I missed two of them. I really do not have many memories from two summers except sitting in my red chair. I do remember at one point realizing that I not only was loosing my hair, but also my gardens. I missed my garden more then my hair, at first. But after a while all I remember is sitting in my red chair.
This year, this year I have all the time I want to work in my garden. I have never had this much time to just spend bent over in the garden. My skin darkens easily, but I don't even remember ever being this dark. My hair lightens my skin darkens my mind calms and my imagination opens.
For the July 4th holiday Bug and I took the boat over to Daytona to visit our friends, Hobbie who lives in Holly Hill with her hubby Col. Bill. They also were suffering with sad. Yes, in Florida if we go more then 5 days of rain it is the equivalent of a month in the gray north of winter. After all, that is winter, that is the north, you live with that type of thing every winter. But this is summer, and Florida, the Sunshine State. Poor Bill and Hobbie live in Ohio, the Youngstown area. It is one of the cloudiest places in the United States. That is the reason the base is where it is. So Hobbie couldn't wait to get to Florida and sunshine. So they were really being affected of the gray.
Our first night Hobbie and I took our kayaks into the river. She had been seeing lots of manatees and dolphins. We kayaked out a way, and two manatees came over to check us out. They swam right up to where we sat in our low boats and raised their heads up to look at us. They scratched their noses and the side of the kayaks, seeming to be attracted to my sky blue one. Then they swam under the kayaks and lifted up, lifting us up from the water. They shimmied under us in this precarious position. Just barely out of the water, but more then we are used to. We realized they were scratching their backs. One was huge. Their head bigger than Harry's was. I mean like pumpkin huge head attached to a body worthy being related to the elephant. We were thrilled.
The next day we took the boat out early in the morning, but the trim wouldn't work, and there is no water. I mean really low tide. And this was high tide. Also the boat wouldn't get up on plain. So we were forced to pull into Caribbean Jacks for a little refreshment. The day followed the boat and turned gray and rainy and just was a typical rainy Florida day. So we walked around the town and beach and visited a few of our favorite places like the Oyster Pub where we played trivia, tying three all. We ended up at the mai tie bar. It was a beautiful night and maybe promised to a more beautiful day to follow. And it was glorious. We drove down to the beach and then down the beach ending up parked in front of a tiki bar. We laid on the beach, and walked, ate ice cream and drank rum drinks. Ok, I ate the ice cream, and did not drink rum drinks. But all was consumed and enjoyed.
The fourth we tried the boat again and although not 100%, the Miss K, slipped thru the water and reached up and flew on plain. We saw dolphins and manatees, we saw a barge where the Ormond Beach fireworks would be shot. After an amazing ride the four of us set off on an adventure to Orange City. At the Red Roof Café they were having Bill and Hobbie's friends performing. We have seen them before and they are a lot of fun. But oh, it was so much more. The Red Roof is the oldest building still standing in Orange City. They were having an armed forces recognition day with an auction and food and music. It was the strangest day. They only auctioned off things if you told them what you wanted and what was the most you would be able to pay. Then they would decide if it was enough for them to auction the item. We bought a couple bags of jewelry, mostly junk, but there are some pretty fun and are things in there. We also bought a portable air conditioner/heater thing for the screened in porch. The music was fun, but there were less then 50 people at the height of the day, and it was just so strange. But one of three authorized US Postal Museums is there, and it was really wandering through the building and looking.
For the fire works, Bug and I opted to be boring and stay at home while the others went out for drinks and dinner. I simply can not hang with the big dogs. We had a lovely evening with a delivery pizza and a bottle of wine. We walked out on the big dock with the second floor and looked up and done the river. There were fireworks everywhere. Behind us and in front of us, absolutely 360 degrees of fire works. As each town and park and hotel seemed to have set their show off fifteen minutes apart, it was like watching waves of fire works as you turned and turned to watch the colors bursting and thundering across the sky. Individual fire works in yards snapped and crackled around us as the fire works shot up higher and higher. I have had some amazing 4ths, but this was one of the most fun. I have seen some of the most elaborate fire work shows, but standing up over the river, with the breeze strong up off the water. Pale red and green lights reflecting off the kayaks as they drift up the river watching the shows. The sound of celebrations and joy, the sky shimmering and sparkling, whistling and booming. It was magical. The warm humid summer weather of my Florida childhood, my eyes lit up by the sky. My heart full with all the things I had seen and done those few days. It was just Bug and I. Our heads face up, ooohs and aaahs slipping from our lips. magical
The ride home threatened rain as we drove north, but followed by the boat we seemed to slip in and out between storms. That all changed as we headed west on I-10. For the most part we managed to miss most of the storms, but miles from our exit it came down. Not in individual drops, not even in sheets, just a solid space of water. The kind that takes you from 10 miles an hour below the speed limit to just about 10 miles an hour period. It did not last long, but it was intense. The earlier rains had been sun showers. Those wonderful showers of sunshine of big fat drops where the sky stays blue. But we made it home. Bob met us at the gate and was so happy that we had finally made it home. Edna was no where to be found. I walked around checking for her, an umbrella in my hand, the humidity 100%. I was home, but where was my girl? Bug gave out his loud sharp whistle that he calls the dogs. A minute or two later, there was my baby girl. Just now two years old. Her collar had lain broken by the gate when I had gotten home, and it was scared me then. Now my little fluffy, pudgy girl was home.
We were home
All the kids look fine
The gardens are amazing.
They grow on their own, I just get them started and enjoy them as they grow
I finally have ripe tomatoes, Roma.
I have baby cukes and bigger egg plants.
The flowers are growing and the secret garden still waits quietly
It is not raining at this moment, but probably will again later.
It is Florida
It is July
It is raining
Life feels a little more like I am used to, which this day and age with global climate change, a little respite of magic and joy.
It is the rainy season
I am happy