The past couple of weeks I have returned to my roots. I am a Florida Cracker, the name used for a native Floridian. Yes, there are a few of us that were actually born in the state. I spent a majority of the first 30 years of my life in FL before moving to Alaska.
While returning to FL in HaRVey with my husband and 3 dogs has felt familiar, I had no idea it would feel like such a homecoming. I grew up in Clearwater, FL, just west of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico. My mother loved the beach, so had me in tow whenever she went. Which was as often. I grew to love the beach as much as she did. I still do.
When I initially wrote the first draft of this, I was sitting on a beach in Key Largo, FL on a sunny, breezy, blue sky, 80 degree day. IN DECEMBER! It felt glorious.
I love the sound of the various beach birds. The smell of the ocean is unlike any other ocean I’ve smelled. I didn’t know you could smell salt but that’s the best way I can describe it. The teal water stretches out in front of me and brings a smile to my face. I can hear the waves lapping the shore, about one lap per second. The gentle breeze feels like hundreds of cotton balls gliding over my sun warmed skin. Even the sticky humidity feels normal and not foreign at all.
Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh—is all I can say.
Maybe it’s because I spent so much enjoyable time here when I was young, that on return I have such a great appreciation for this place.
My husband grew up in Ohio and didn’t feel like he had found home until he got to the mountains where he could hike.
Home isn’t always found in the place where we grew up; sometimes we have to seek it out.
I don’t know if I could ever live here again permanently. Maybe.
For this moment though, I’ll literally bask in the warm sun, enjoy the swaying palm trees, marvel at the magnificent fish we saw on our snorkel trip, picture the dolphins frolicking in the wake of our boat on the way back, and take in every moment we’re here with gratitude.
What more could this Florida Cracker ask for?
What place feels like home to you? Was it where you grew up, or somewhere else?
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I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.