Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ode to Home

The first thing that people comment on when they visit us in Florida is the palm trees.

On the drive out of Palm Beach International, the road is lined with them. Tall, green, wavering slightly in the breeze, some with coconuts threatening to drop. Like hands giving you a warm welcome to paradise.

The first thing I said when I moved here and walked into the airport parking garage was, "Holy FUCK it is hot out." And then I was pretty quiet when I got into the car, trying to process the fact that I had finally made it to year-round warmth. While I looked out the car window at the palm trees, one of the next full sentences I said was, "I am never taking the palm trees for granted."

And I still don't. Every time I get in the car, I notice them, and while they aren't as jarringly tropical as before, I still appreciate them year-round. BUT, they aren't my favorite thing about the scenery here. Neither are the hibiscus and clematis flowers that bloom everywhere, or the snake plants.

My favorite are the banyan and oak trees.

These trees line the streets of my neighborhood and are one of the things that drew me to our tiny home. And the banyans line all around Guanabanas, too, including one growing in the middle of the tiki hut there. Thinking about it, the palm trees aren't what make me love it there so much. It's the banyan trees, giant and knotted and old, hanging over me while I look out at the water and sip my "fancy drink" (as Aunt Joyce would say).

This morning, Atlas woke up super early. Way earlier than usual, even. And then he threw up all over me and the sheets and the duvet, prompting me to get myself out of bed and start my day, when normally I would get to sleep in just a bit longer while Eric spends some quality time with Atlas before work.

I took over Nym duty, which I was initially grumpy about. I was grumpy for the first half hour of my morning, because everything was covered in barf, and I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was sleep. But then, I really tried to be mindful while I was walking Nym. I put my phone in my pocket and focused on her and on everything around me, and really took in the fact that I was warm and wearing flip flops in the middle of winter, surrounded by these giant trees.

Then, I took my phone out when we were just about home, so I could snap this photo and write this post. So I could look back on it when I am feeling homesick for the hustle and bustle and historic scenery of the Jerz and Philly, and I can think to myself: I am surrounded by beauty and history in nature every single day here. When I really take the time to appreciate what is around me, I never want to leave. I want Atlas to grow up surrounded by this, always feeling warm and happy and at peace.

One day, if we don't get global warming in check, Florida might sink into the ocean. Everyone can joke about how I live in a godforsaken greenhouse, surrounded by old people and/or rich people, in the middle of swamp land, but I know better. There is more to this place than all that.

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