by Ruth, aka Momma Frizzle
My friend said to me, “Florida smells.” She meant it observationally, not derogatorily. As in, Florida has smells she is not accustomed to. We were walking a local trail through a forest drenched in early morning humidity. We could literally see the water in its gaseous state.
I sniffed the air. She was right. The morning smelled moist, loamy, and slightly dank. We were walking past a drainage pond at that exact moment. “Actually, it made me feel sick at first,” she continued. “I thought I was going to be sick on the smell.” (Okay, maybe she did mean it derogatorily).
My friend is a new immigrant to this Central Florida environment. She recently moved here from the desert, where the air is dry, and things don’t smell. At least not in a rotting vegetable sort of way. The water-saturated air doesn’t coat your lungs and clothes and hair, like it does here.
You can see the air in the desert too. It’s filled with dry dust. My friend says sunsets are amazing because the fading light strikes those particles and adds 20 colors to the sky. You can see for miles in every direction.
I’ve visited the desert before. And I like it okay, even though I find it hard to breathe. There’s not enough moisture to lubricate my Southern-designed respiratory system. I get dry coughs, weird things in my nostrils, and always feel short of breath. Plus, I’m thirsty all the time.
I really like my new friend. She surprises me. A quality that is high on my list of desirable friendship traits. Her comment about Florida air making her want to puke (my words, not hers) surprised me. I loved it.
But I’m equally glad that she moved here to the damp tropics, rather than me having to move to the arid desert to be her friend. And I can’t help believing she’s just a dozen or so gorgeous beach sunsets away from forgetting that Florida smells.