Since taking up Tampa Bay as my home, I’ve heard so many people complain of the lack of seasons. Granted, autumnal changes here in Tampa pale in comparison to the likes of my homeland, New England, but I sill prickle whenever I hear someone whine that nothing changes here.
I beg to differ, sir.
The changes are as dramatic, they’re subtle. Like whispers that you have to really tune into to see and appreciate. A real local can tell you that there’s about a month in late February to early March where the trees seem to breathe into life and suddenly are just bursting with buds and greenery.
Similarly, the fall here takes on a more golden hue that is most noticed in the neighborhoods lined with old oak trees.
Here and there, trees’ leaves dry and crisp to a golden brown before dropping to the ground (yes, leaves fall off some trees here!).
The bald cyprus trees shed their burnt looking needles almost overnight. (Can’t even get those fellas on camera!)
The palm trees still stand waving their green fronds…
But a cool breeze floats along in November, nudging at windows until thankful residents throw open the windows and doors and welcome the breeze inside. The whir and hum of air conditioners usually still in homes by Thanksgiving as the humidity vanishes into the approaching winter.
My favorite part of fall in Tampa? The bougainvillea. Ohhhhhh, the bougainvillea.
The vibrant greens of these little climbers, some taking over walls, fences or whole trees, suddenly burst forth with colorful, rich blooms. The color is stunning and truly takes your breath away.
Farmers markets last all year here, but seem to double in size as the temperatures begin to cool. With little threat of random showers popping up at any hour, people lazily stroll through booths, eat on the dry grass and enjoy found treasures.
Like up north, people strive to spend as much time outside as possible, though for us Floridians, this is just the beginning. The beginning of festivals every weekend, some lasting days. The beginning of dining al fresco without fear of being bitten by flying pests (my biggest problem), and long outdoor outings without fear of dehydration.
It’s a short transition period, but what a glorious one. Welcome to Florida fall… at last.