Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Summer of Sharks and Beaches Chpt 1

The thick heavy air that accompanies the reality and finality of adulthood had not yet settled on his life during the summer of sharks and beaches. No, this was still just the thick and salty Gulf air, all too familiar to Evan by this, his 23rd summer in west central Florida and, of course, his 23rd summer of life.

The subtle changes in season associated with mid-October in Florida are only appreciated by the most astute and observant natives of the swampy sunshine state. Many argue that there are only two seasons down here – hot and hotter. This is not the case though. While the state, especially the central and southern regions, is, indeed, always relatively warm, markers beyond temperature usher in each new season. It’s during mid-October that the taste of summer falls slowly and quietly away to unassuming and less oppressive warmth that marks the oncoming Florida autumn. Usually, no one knows that the change has occurred until weeks afterwards. Only then do you realize that your hands do not burn on the steering wheel and that your shirt is not soaked during a walk in the thinner evening air.

A Florida native and astute observer, Evan was certainly, if subconsciously, aware of these annual variations, attuned to the markers of change hinting at the coming seasons. However, he had never noticed the other climate - the context of his life and the air of his youth. Thus, it’s not surprising that Evan didn’t notice the slight difference in the flavor of his life that hung just on the fringe of his existence that summer like a 75 degree day at the end of September.

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