I grew up in Kansas City, MO, home of absolutely terrible weather: frigid winters, several feet of snow, lots of ice. On the other hand, we had long, hot summers. The grass turned brown in the heat by mid-June and the breeze felt as if it came from an enormous hair dryer set to scorch. I always thought there had to be a place that had either nice summers or moderate winters. In 1987, we moved to Savannah, GA, and found weather heaven. Oh, the summer was terrible and humid but I loved living in a place where kids rode their bikes in shorts on Christmas day.
What do I miss about living in the South? When I was a child walking home from schoolafter a long winter of cold and snow, in March I could see the crocus pushing themselves up through the snow. I loved those first signs of spring: daffodils and robins and the brilliance of narcissus. The sight of a gentle cloud of light green hovering about the limbs of trees which signaled they would soon be blossoming–well, the beauty made me smile and tear up.
Living in the South, I miss spring. I miss the relief of coming to the end of snow and ice and seeing the earth wake up before me, gentle and sweet and fecund. I miss the soft colors and the bright ones, the tulips at Churchill Down, the red buds and dogwood trees, and the magnolias. In Savannah, the bursting color of azaleas almost made up for not seeing those lovely northern plants–almost. And in the Hill Country of Texas, we have wild flowers in the spring, miles and miles of blue bonnets with sprinkles of Indian blanket. Gorgeous. But it’s only this–azaleas or wild flowers but not the variety of beauty in spring in the north.
What else do I miss about living up north? When I was a child, my father, an unwavering fan of athletics at the University of Kansas, drove us to every home football game in Lawrence. I remember the beauty of autumn leaves back then, the reds shimmered in the sun and the hues of yellow spread from light to golden. Never have I seen trees so beautiful and I miss them. In Texas, people will point out what they call a pretty tree, the leaves of which have changed from green to a deep, rusty red, nearly brown. Oh, yes, I miss the changing of leaves in the autumn.
What don’t I miss about living in the South? Snow.