Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another Month Down

It's hard to believe that it's September already. In Florida, it's harder to tell than in Illinois. Back in the Midwest, a chill is normally poised to slip into the air as soon as August is over. It's almost as though God flips a switch on Labor Day, and suddenly the summer heat is gone.

For years, my husband and I had a tradition of going to Wisconsin Dells for Labor Day weekend. Usually, it was still warm enough to swim, but I always felt melancholy on those trips. As I floated down the Lazy River at Noah's Ark, our favorite Dells water park, my heart would feel heavy as I realized that it was my last local water fun of the year. As soon as the last tourist cleared out, I knew that the seasonal workers would be stacking the lounge chairs for the last time, draining all of the pools, and locking down the buildings for a long, cold winter.

Now, September is no longer the hearld of summer's end. We've still got a month or two of heat left, and the water parks at Disney World are open all year long. Too bad my blood has thinned too much to visit them in December anymore! And I never miss our visits to the Dells because the 192 tourist strip is like Wisconsin Dells on steroids.

It's another month of hurricane season down, too, but unfortunately Hurricane Katrina has already turned 2005 into another year that will join 2004 in infamy. I thought that last year's destruction was bad; I remember driving through downtown Kissimmee and thinking that it looked like a war zone. Now, my television is filled with scenes from Louisiana and Mississippi that look more like a third world country. How tragic to see thousands of Americans with no homes who are lacking the basic necessities of life.

I guess that's the paradox of living in Florida. When a hurricane threatens, we pray that it will turn away. Unfortunately, when it veers away from us, that often means that it sets another area in its crosshairs. And as bad as it is to live near the ocean, it's ten times worse to be below sea level. Unless you're a hermit, you've seen the massive flooding on the news. It will be months, or even years, before there's any semblence of normalcy.

But in Florida, we've been spared so far this year. The only ripples that have reached us are some extra thunderstorms and a gas-buying frenzy admidst spiking prices. Hurricane season is winding down, thank goodness...I don't think the U.S. can stand another disaster while it's still coping with Katrina's wrath.

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