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Floridians do 'seasons' much differently

Shawn Dietrich, left, and Derry Jackson toast to their adventure at Anclote Key, one of many outdoor options for Floridians.

Terry Tomalin | Times (2002)

Shawn Dietrich, left, and Derry Jackson toast to their adventure at Anclote Key, one of many outdoor options for Floridians.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it's all right.

George Harrison

Loyal readers, it has been a long, cold, lonely winter. It seems like years since we have had more than a couple of days of sunshine.

Some of you might have sold your boats, given away your scuba diving gear, hung up your fishing rods and paddles. But don't give up hope.

After three months of bad weather, I can feel it in my bones. Those endless days of summer, with their 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity, are just around the corner.

To be honest, I've enjoyed the spell of brutal weather. I got to break out my winter sleeping bag, try out a new wet suit and cook cowboy coffee over a campfire.

I've had chilly moments. Nothing will put the fear of hypothermia in you like swimming across Tampa Bay on a brisk January morning.

But as my favorite existentialist philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

We Floridians are a resilient bunch. We endure heat waves, droughts, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. We don't let rattlesnakes and black bears keep us out of the woods or alligators and bull sharks away from the water.

After all, the reason why most people move to Florida is to enjoy the great outdoors. And I learned a long time ago you can't let a little thing like the weather stand between you and a little good, clean fun.

Everybody has a favorite month. For some, it's October, when the leaves turn their hues of orange and gold. No, wait. That's New England.

I forgot. We have no seasons. Or at least that is what those snobs from the other 49 states will say.

Before you start writing letters to the editor, please note I was born in Manhattan and brought up in New Jersey. I've spent the past 30 years in the Sunshine State swimming, surfing, paddling, diving, sailing, fishing, boating or, in general, having one heck of a time despite which direction the wind did blow.

As for seasons, we Floridians have more than most. While you Westerners, Midwesterners, New Englanders and Southerners must make do with spring, summer, winter and fall, we fortunate Floridians have way too many seasons to count. But what the heck? I'll start a list just for grins.

April is kingfish season. And just in case you are busy, don't worry. November is also kingfish season. We like it so much we have it twice.

May is snook season. But so is June, July and August. Catch all you want. Just let them go. Save some for next year.

And if that is not enough, get this. May is also tarpon season. So is June, July and August. Catch all you want. Just let them go. Save some for next year.

If fishing isn't your thing, don't fret. June is scuba diving season. But that is just to get you tuned up for lobster season (the rest of the country calls this time of year July.)

I know … it is hard to keep track … grouper season, turkey season, surfing season, camping season, kayak season, biking season, boating season, sailing season; the list goes on and on.

The trick, my friends, is to learn to love and embrace them all.

And next time you find yourself a little down on those rare, gray Florida days, just hum to yourself the melody to the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun.

And you will see … it's all right.

Terry Tomalin, laid low by a chest cold for a week in March, vows to be in or on the water every day in April.

Floridians do 'seasons' much differently 04/01/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 12:31am]
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