Friday, November 18, 2005

I Love Celebration in the Winter

Ah, how I love Celebration in the winter! Actually, it's not officially winter yet, but it's getting too close for comfort. My husband called from Chicago this morning, complaining about wind chills in the single digits. Cold, wind, frostbite...ugh! I've been living in Florida full-time for almost a year, but I instantly had a flashback to long, bleak winters in the Windy City.

October's not a bad month back north. The leaves are still changing, and the first chilly nights inspire people to stoke up their fireplaces, scenting the air with the perfume of woodsmoke. There are hayrides, hot apple cider, and songs around the campfire. You can feel the growing anticipation as the calendar moves closer to Halloween. To heck with Thanksgiving...the Great Pumpkin's appearance now marks the (un)official gateway to the holiday season.

But after the last piece of candy is eaten and the last jack o'lantern turns to mush, you realize that it's November. Sure, you've got Turkey Day, Christmas, and New Year ahead of you, but bitter cold and blizzards are dead ahead, too. In Chicago, the stretch between November and March is interminable. By the end, pale, shivering, frostbitten natives are firmly convinced that spring (all three days of it) will never come again.

Here in Florida, it's hard to believe that the year is nearly at an end. I know it on a logical level, but instinctually I just can't accept it. How can it be winter when the sun is still shining and the trees are still green? Yes, it's a little bit cooler outside, but not "mitten and scarf chilly"...more like "get out and enjoy it" cool.

The gorgeous weather finally lured me out today. I've been busy getting ready to lauch my new business to see what it's all about, click here), so I've been glued to my laptop. I've had the windows wide open and the ceiling fans spinning to draw in the crisp, fresh air. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get outdoors.

I donned my walking shoes and went for a hike down to Aquila Reserve, one of my favorite areas of Celebration. Many of the homes have lake or preserve land views, and the boardwalk borders the lake. It felt so good to take a brisk walk, and I also indulged in one of my favorite past-times: checking out the houses. I love to see what other people have done in their yards and gardens, and many had started putting up their holiday decorations, too. I zig zagged up the streets and down the alleys, taking in the view.

My favorite area of Aquila Reserve is in the very back, where sprawling estate homes back up onto the lake or overlook heavily wooded areas. Although Aquila is part of Celebration, it's isolated back in its own little world. The woods still shelter wild turkeys and deer that come out to visit in the evening. Since my little corner of East Village borders the woods, too, we also get frequent wildlife visitors. It's such a treat to live only eight miles from the front gate of the Magic Kingdom and have the bonus of wild critter neighbors, too.

My husband will be home soon, and I can just imagine how happy he'll be to shed his winter coat and bask in Florida's balmy temperatures. Back when we were tourists, visiting Disney World two or three times a year, we would head off the plane and onto the jetway, feel the humidity engulf us, and breath a sigh of relief.

No, I don't miss Chicago, especially at this time of year. Celebration in the winter is the place to be!

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