Friday, July 27, 2012
When we went out for the frozen yogurt it was 8:45pm and the temperature was still 90°. My wife and I don't live an exorbitant life style. We try to eat reasonably healthy, which means simple ingredients and small portions, with as little to no industrial food as possible. I don't know where the frozen yogurt falls on the scale of Being Good vs Being Bad, but it's one of those little rewards we give ourselves. After all, parfaits on parfait Friday are just $3 each.
I mentioned how hot it was. Folks expect Florida to be hot, especially tourists. Especially in the summer. If you look at our statistics you find it is hot in the summer. But this year, it's been hotter longer than just about any time in my memory. I'm not a native. I moved to Orlando from Atlanta back in 1984 with my new bride. We lived in a modest rental house in the downtown area for the first year until we found this, our one and only house, in 1985.
When I first moved to Florida it would rain in the summer afternoons between 2 and 3 pm. People at the time remarked you could almost set your watch by the summer showers, they were so regular. That pattern kept up pretty much through the rest of the 1980s, and then began to tape off in the early 1990s. The rain became more erratic, and when it did come, the showers were more intense and lasted longer. Mini dry spells would develop and continue for at about a week, where the sun baked the moisture back out of the ground and the foliage. Driving home today I saw lawns beginning to burn yellow from the intense heat and lack of periodic (daily) rains.
The most frightening period for me was and still is 1998, when nearly all of Florida turned tinder-box dry and nearly burned down. The drought eventually broke and the rains came back, but I still remember the wall of smoke that cut off I-4, looking east, from the 436 bridge as I got off that day. And I could smell the smoke coming through the sealed up air-conditioned car I was driving that day. For year after that I would drive north up I-95 to Amelia Island for summer vacation, and on both sides of the road, sometimes for as far as the eye could see, would stand the burned-out pines and oaks from that period. The underbrush was growing back rapidly, but it was a startling contrast when I firs saw it.
This year, though, is intensely hot. This year feels as bad as 1997/98. We've been breaking heat records in Florida just like around the rest of the country. Here's a disturbing map courtesy of Climate Central (Record Summer Temperatures, By The Numbers) showing nationwide record temperatures for the month of June:
I'm taking time out to enjoy my modest life, to savor more of the moments as they come. Moments such as the ability to drive up and eat a $3 parfait with my wife. I feel we really are on the edge of a major event, an event we're not going to be able to do much about if anything. It makes life in these days just that more important to me.