Longleaf Preserve is what Buck and I call the hundred-acre wood where we have lived for the last eighteen years. It’s not a gated community with a name that evokes some long-past history. It’s an actual preserve for Longleaf pine trees and mixed-hardwoods. Buck bought the land back in the last century, in 1974. We married in 1984 and built our home here in 2000.
Many folks think of Florida as monolithic: hot in summer, heaven in winter, Mickie Mouse, golf, alligators and sharks. But the Florida Panhandle has seasons, gorgeous emerald water sugar sand beaches, and lush forests, along with some nifty small towns, including Pensacola, where we live. And a little known fact that messes with national elections reporting: we’re in the central time zone, whereas most of Florida is in eastern. We still have folks voting while the media have already started reporting who won or lost in Florida.
I’ve been walking the third of a mile from house to gate nearly every morning for a long time now, so I recognize and enjoy all the signs of changing seasons. I’m a lot older than when I first started making those morning walks, not as eager for the next season to arrive, preferring instead to linger and savor the one I’m in.
Even August, usually the peak time for heat, humidity, and clouds of love bugs. And hurricanes. But this August, with only a few more days to go, has been a kinder and gentler month. Plenty of actual rain rather than constant steam. Cooler temps. And fall-blooming wildflowers gracing us with their presence way earlier than usual.
Maybe somebody out there understands we noise-weary humans need a break. Do yourself a favor. Turn off your news-feed and take a walk.