So Long Summer

by Tanya Litz

Tanya is a Florida native, currently lives in Palm Beach County, and will be moving to Big Pine Key in 2 years! She and her husband fish A LOT, Kayak A LOT. She gives her volunteer time to Dalmatian Rescue of South Florida and is a big University of Miami fan and never misses a game. Tanya especially loves writing about Florida “…as a kid I never realized how amazing Florida is and how lucky we are, so now I’m constantly trying to put my memories of pre-overdevelopment Florida on paper.”

I know our friends to the north don’t understand me when I try to explain why I am always a little sad to see summer go. Most of them feel that because we have near perfect weather all year long that this is the land of never ending summer but there is something unparalleled about the summer months here that has less to do with the weather and more to do with the local people and the overall vibe.

As the door to the best season of the year begins to creek open in late May you start to feel subtle nuances that only “we” can detect and understand. First, there is the heat, normal people begin to wither…they go into hiding and avoid any place that is not pumped full of ice cold artificial air. We actually take this opportunity to embrace what we know will only get hotter over the next three months. The days are longer and everyone is outdoors just a little bit more getting themselves acclimated to the inevitable…the glorious heat and humidity!

With the increase of the heat comes the decrease of clothing. That’s not to say that we start running around stark naked but we do tend to dress down differently. There is no need for $300 bathing suits, silk beach cover-ups or having your hair blown out. The hair goes up; shoes come off and just grab one of the twenty bathing suits you have in the drawer. No cover-ups for us, wrap a towel around your waist and head on out! It is about now when you stop seeing the perfectly coordinated bathing suits, sun hats and sandals combo as that look is reserved for cruise line advertisements in December.

There is a sense of community that can only be felt here…when a neighbor returns from a day on the water the whole street shares in the bounty. Yes, BBQs are pretty standard fare in June and July but there is nothing quite like ours. Ribs and burgers are great but there’s just something unequal to fresh grilled fish, ceviche, conch fritters and Moros y Cristianos that will make you feel like that native kid you once were…eating a mango with your legs hanging off the dock, mango juice oozing down your arm and enjoying every warm minute of it!

Our kids are even different this time of year. There are sword fights in the yard with schefflera sticks, long runs down the seawall chasing anything that moves and who hasn’t had a kid come home with little red blisters on the bottoms of their feet, soles worm down by countless hours in the pool? Doesn’t every kid go to Sea Camp?

The beaches are filled with folks like “us” late until the sun starts to set. Teenagers sitting in the sand, no beach chair or umbrellas because they know how unique they are. Their footprints branding the sand as if to say “you belong to us”. And this time of year the roads really do belong to us. No crazy January honking by droves of Snowbirds. Everything is more calm, the fuel of chaos leaves us for a small time and we can finally really enjoy all that our amazing area blesses us with.

To me, it is bittersweet to watch summer come to an end. The beaches, bikinis and BBQs are still here year round for us but it’s that feeling like no other that leaves when September comes.

So, until next year…Good Night Summer.

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