I was in Florida visiting friends last week. Why, you might ask, would someone who lives in a place where it's 75 degrees and sunny in March go to Florida? I guess the answer is that escaping from bad weather isn't the only reason to get away. The friends in Florida are really good ones, and I love being with them. I even managed to pick up one check while I was there; it was a small one and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have been allowed to grab it for just that reason, but still...
The trip was replenishing and good for both my ego and my perspective. The temp there was the same as the temp here, but the feeling was utterly different. I don't like humidity one bit, but ocean breezes and the sound of the surf go a long way toward making up for the dampness in the air. It's also fun to be in a place where someone who is 53 years old is routinely considered a kid. While swimming laps in the gorgeous pool at my friends' condo, I found myself easily lapping a man swimming with flippers and a snorkel mask. I felt quite vigorous as I completed three lengths for his every one. (Actually, he was going so slowly that I'm not exactly sure why he didn't sink altogether. I doubt he burned a single calorie per lap. But he was in the pool when I got there, when I finished my laps and when we went back upstairs, so maybe he makes up in time for what he lacks in speed.)
My friends have some relatives nearby whom we visited in their beach house steps from the ocean on a cool, breezy afternoon. The relatives were warm and sharp and funny, and they reminded me of my parents' relatives, whom I rarely see. The visit was an unexpected pleasure and incredibly fun in a wonderfully benevolent and nostalgic familial sort of way.
And in the "there's no place like home" and "this really is now my home" categories, I've discovered that I now feel truly clean only when I'm in the desert. I've noted before that it's always weird to have to actually dry one's legs after a shower when in other climates; in the desert, by the time you've dried the rest of yourself, your legs are already dry. I know the dry air isn't for everyone, but it's most definitely for me. It has a purity that makes me feel as crisp and clean as a freshly laundered white shirt.