Let us take a moment to pause here in the middle of February, the Goldilocks' porridge of Florida weather, to take stock of our place in the world and engage in communal celebration that we've somehow come to be in this place at this time. Let other states celebrate their seasons; that never quite works here in the land where heat sort of wraps itself around the calendar. But if we're not careful, we'll miss this most subtle of shifts. January is a little too cold and March is a little too hot, but February is room temperature, our entree. This is why we're here.
Florida in February is elbows out windows and tandem bicycles on the Pinellas Trail and doors wide open at La Habana Cigar Club in South Pasadena. It's hip bones, new tan lines and glossy travel brochures, front porch afternoons and busy bait shacks on emerald waterways. February is a pompous Facebook post for the frozen folks back home, on which your Connecticut Cousin says she hates you :) and your Arkansas Aunt says she's coming to visit, tomorrow, whether you like it or not. The gulf is finally back to the refreshing side of too cold. The windows are open in February, all of them, and the boulevards are clogged by cars with out-of-state plates. We sit outside without perspiring, at Three Coins Diner and Ted Peters, at Ricky T's and Smokin' J's. The birds are up with the sun now, and the pileated woodpecker is back, working on the same old telephone pole. The night air in February is still crisp enough to justify a fire in the pit. The wind through the palm fronds on a February afternoon sounds a little like applause.