Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mi casa es tu casa - A Sweet Florida Homecoming

Open your eyes. Get out of bed. Lace up your jogging shoes. Quick! We're in a new country. Well, new, old country, it's all subjective. In spite of having grown up here, I've been away for long enough that it's going to feel new, and wonderful.

Let's go outside. Get in the car. We're definitely going to ride with the windows down! Can you smell that? It's the local donut shop. What comes to mind when you smell that sweet scent? I'm immediately brought back in time to Saturday morning's in 1988 and stopping at the donut shop with my roller skating "team" before we all headed out to the rink to skate to the latest Def Leppard tunes. 

Okay, now we're arrived at the river front. The sun is rising and rather than taking off running, we're drawn to the river front park like a moth to the flame. It's still dark and the bridge heading out to the beaches is still illuminated. We snap picture after picture, thinking that one is more beautiful than the other. Is there anything more beautiful than a sun rising sleepily over the water? Jumping fish are competing with the sun for our attention. 

We finally start running. Mmmm... Smell the bacon cooking? What does that remind you of? What comes to mind for me is big American-style family breakfasts with bacon, eggs, pancakes, and other yummy stuff. Oh man.  

We chuckle as we pass the crooked sign on the tiny residential street marked "bikes sharing roadways".  

We see everything with child-like wonder. A friendly squirrel scurries up a palm tree, tamely pausing to see if we have any food for him. The odd pickup truck or SUV chugs by with a roar, reminding us of how cheap gasoline must (still) be in this country.  

Passersby smile at us and say "Good morning!", though they have never seen us before. 

We turn around, admire some spanish moss dangling from a nearby oak tree, snap photos of the sun from a new perspective, and catch a glimpse of an egret, fishing for breakfast at a nearby dock. 

But what do we feel? I think we both feel very grateful to have seen all this. Much less, to have seen it in a whole new light.    

We get in the car, roll the windows down, drive up to the stop light, and fumble for words, confusedly, as a cyclist asks us in his Southern accent, "Did you enjoy your run?" 

Well yes, we did. Thank you very much for caring enough to ask. You have no idea what that means to me. To us.

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