Part of this adventure means saying goodbye to Florida, a flat land with scrub palms, where I’ve been living 47 years, amidst sand spurs, red ant mounds and alligators. I have found myself unexpectedly nostalgic over the unique aspects of this state that I will miss. You can find
alligators in your back yard, an ominous black sky before a summer frog-strangler, or iridescent blue green water under miles of oversea highway. There is a lot to like and respect about the earlier residents and their struggles (with no AC), or the kitschy landscape that evolved from them.
But I’ve been here along time and gone through some of the normal life changes, marriage, kids, divorce, death in the family. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the place has grown on me. I’ve slept on the beach in a youthful drunken stupor, helicoptered over manta rays and lakes filled with gators, walked into cobwebs and orb spiders, waited countless times for the “green flash” at sunset (it’s a myth), swum in lakes that I probably shouldn’t have, and come to terms with the oppressive summer heat. Normal stuff. But I will miss the gators.