When we first moved to Tulsa, nearly two years ago, leaving friends in Orlando seemed like the most difficult thing ever. Not that I wasn't happy to be here. Y'all know that I LOVE Tulsa and have wanted to live here for the last 20 years. But my best friends are in Orlando - the people I love, who have been with me through some pretty rough patches. I helped them weather some rough spots as well. Moving was the absolute best thing our family has ever done, but certainly one of the most difficult.
One of the things which held me together after the move was the sky here in Oklahoma. Silly, I know, but a major draw for me. Having grown up south of New Orleans, I'm in love with weather - the more violent, the better. As a kid I loved the wispy white clouds, the black thunderheads, the steady gray rain. One of my favorite things to do was to stand at one end of our street, directly under a steely gray sky, and watch the sheet of rain approach from the other end of the street. My friends and I would be poised to run, waiting till the last possible second, holding out till the rain reached the house next door, then we'd race to the shop (my dad was a mechanic and owned a garage), thrilling at the sound of tons of water pounding on the tin roof, deafening.
Another favorite treat was climbing a tree just before a category one hurricane was due to make landfall. I'd climb to the top to watch the gray bands swirl in, to feel the wind in my face. The tree would rock like crazy and I'd be terrified to climb down, but the feel! The sound! The sight. Nothing like it in the world.
My first move to Tulsa, for college a million years ago, I missed that sky, the clouds, the storms. But not for long. Our cafeteria faced west and was walled in glass. When I discovered Oklahoma sunsets, having grown up between two levees and never looking out, only up, I fell in love with Tulsa. Imagine a wall of 15 foot windows, an orange sky, a setting sun, a bank of pink clouds. It was heaven on earth.
Imagine having only known green surroundings your entire life. Envision lush, sub-tropical plants everywhere you go. Well, not so lush as short and stubby - trees, bursting with naval oranges and golden figs. Think of the brown flying cockroaches. Excuse me - palmetto bugs. The heat. Humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife. Giant yellow or amber banana spiders hanging in giant webs at eye level. Then move yourself a little north and west and think of a more arid climate. And snow. Without the banana spiders. Ayup. No brainer, right?
(Oop! Forgot to warn you! Spider picture! Got the picture here.)
My first winter in Tulsa I saw snow fall from the sky. I danced all over campus, grabbing friends and strangers, shaking them and screaming, "It's snowing!!!" White, wet flakes falling from the sky. Settling on the ground. Little white mounds building up at the edges of the sidewalk. I knew I never wanted to leave, to be anywhere but Tulsa. Or someplace where I'd have snow every winter, at least. College was four years of bliss. Oh! Especially the year we had a blizzard!
I'm tellin' ya, I spent every waking moment I could in the weather. If I wasn't walking or playing in snow, I was out in the pitch black night, walking in thunderstorms, watching lightning play across the sky. Walking in a culvert, feeling the force of the rain water rush past, that was the ultimate. Playing chicken with God and the lightning.
Fast forward to a life in Florida, surrounded, again, by green. Always longing to go back to Tulsa. Living through more hurricanes and loving them. Wishing for fluffy, white snow. For crimson, amber and purple fall leaves. Wishing my children - who've never known another home - could experience seasons. Snowball fights. Playing in leaves. While they're still kids. Eleven loooooong years in Florida. Making friends. Settling in. Thinking I'd never see snow fall from the sky again. Like I said, I love my Florida friends. And if I didn't have family here in Tulsa, we wouldn't be here now.
By the grace of God, though, here we are. My home schooling days are behind me. My trusty Mr. Rebel is usually at hand to capture the colors and sights around me. Spring - I didn't even mention spring! Just y'all wait! Spring brings a whole HOST of new sights and smells! And my garden! *sigh* I love being here. So when are you all moving to be here too?
Until I write again ...
This post is an entry in Scribbit's Write Away contest.