I made the official announcement last week: my family and I are moving to Florida. The most common phrase uttered by friends and family upon hearing such news?
“Aren’t you afraid of hurricanes?” Usually paired with a grimace or a shocked expression — or both.
“I prefer hurricanes to tornadoes.”
Eleven years ago my family moved from Nashville, TN to a tiny little (Town? Community? Village?) atop Sand Mountain in Alabama; how we wound up doing that is another story for another day. We’ve since moved three more times, all in the Northeastern part of this state, and tornadoes have always been a threat. We’ve personally lived through two touch-downs, one of which was a mile-wide F4 that took out every house, tree, and blade of grass in its torrential path (including the home of friends of ours just a half mile away from us — they lost – e v e r y t h i n g –). Sure we had a day’s notice that “bad weather” was coming, but it was just magical, forecasting supposition, not valid predictability. Besides, 24-hours (at best) is hardly sufficient time to pack up, protect, and get the heck outta dodge.
But hurricanes …. see, you know those bad boys are coming — and you can prepare for ’em. Sure, hurricanes are massive beasts of the weather’ing world, often reaching the size of a small (or even large) U.S. state, but that’s precisely what makes them anything but subtle or surprising. You can see them on a radar map, measure them, track them, and (most importantly) get out of their way.
So no, I’m not afraid of hurricanes. (Not terribly afraid anyway … )
And much more to the point, I’m excited about our move — which, granted, is in itself a sort of hurricane force, what with all the shuffling and collecting, purging and packing, calling realtors and e-mailing movers, planning and funneling of time, money, and resources. But it’s all preliminary prep for something my entire family has been anticipating and yearning for: a fresh start, a sense of adventure, a place of belonging. To quote my girl Belle, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell.”
Florida, I’ve discovered, is so much more than sandy beaches and Spring Break. It’s full of wild wonder, full of hiking trails, watery realms to explore, and savory experiences just waiting to be enjoyed. I’ll be scratching the surface and diving deep. So join me — let’s meet Florida!