This is a colorful time in South Florida. If you’re here, just look around. You’ll see what I’m talking about … and you’ll see it everywhere. For instance, I’m sitting in my home office right now typing out these words as I look out my window – well, actually it’s more like, “Typing, then looking. Typing, then looking, then typing.” Or something like that. Anyway, what I see without any special effort is a mass of pale red blossoms in the not-too-distant tree branches across from my place. They are royal poinciana trees just beginning to bloom. These are gorgeous trees with lacy green leaves and huge brown seed pods, up to two feet long. And during this season of the year, the royal poincianas come alive with spectacular red flowers that last for weeks. You’ll find these trees all over South Florida.
And jacaranda trees too. Originally from South America, they have taken to our subtropical climate with great enthusiasm. Assuming trees can be enthusiastic. It sure looks like they are enthusiastic, with profusions of purple flowers covering their branches in the spring.
And you thought Florida only had two seasons, huh? The old “wet season-dry season” thing … A natural counterpart to the “slow season-busy season” thing – you know, “no tourists” or “many tourists” depending on the weather. But the reality is different. Tourism may peak in the cooler months, but Greater Fort Lauderdale is popular year round now. Just take a walk down the Fort Lauderdale beach some July weekend and you’ll get my point. And as for our natural seasons, they’re much more subtle than most folks recognize. Spring is a good example. Typically we’re not into the tropical afternoon rains yet, those storms that come and go suddenly during much of the summer. But we usually do get some rain starting around this time. Temperatures slip back and forth from a.c. weather to open-window weather. You can spot birds mating and building nests. The buzzards that circle our skies all winter are pretty much gone but the mockingbirds are singing their songs night and day. Seasonal variations indeed do season our lives here in South Florida. Subtropical seasonings, if you will. Soon the fragrant frangipani trees will begin to blossom along with the royal poinciana and jacaranda … and the bougainvillea and the rest of our extraordinary foliage. Spring may start us heading toward the warmer months to come, offering hints of summery heat. But it also brings new colors, new life to our region. The mockingbirds know – spring in South Florida is something to sing about.