The differences between suburban central Florida and rural southern Ontario are stark, both in environment and culture.
One of the first things we noticed was the trees. In Florida we swam and wore shorts nearly every day. Up north, it is still rather balmy but there is ice on the ground and all the trees have lost their leaves. Up here there is a feeling of dormancy, that winter is a time of quiet, reflection and storage – storing up energy, thoughts and ideas for spring.
In Florida (perhaps because of the holidays, too) the demand for energy was constant.
We noticed traveling around Florida from Disney to Celebration, Winter Park to the Spanish moss-clad trees around the Lake Mary city hall, that nature was usually used as adornment. It was lush and intentional, cultivated to provide boundaries for paths or simply to demonstrate opulence. And it looks great, year-round.
Up north, nature will certainly come back to life in a few months but for now greenery is quiet and mostly used as a resource (from wreaths to firewood).
There is something calming about knowing a period of rest is imminent and unchangeable, yet impermanent.
The contrast in environments is something to be embraced when you’re intending to become lifelong snowbirds, so now that we are in the cold again we are determined to enjoy it. We trekked out to Pinehurst Lake Conservation area just before dark for an icy and unexpectedly misty jaunt. The gates to the park are closed in wintertime, but folks regularly park outside the borders and walk their way inside.
Pinehurst is beautiful, and only a ten minute drive from Paris. We visited a few times last year when the days were warm – the lake is a popular family destination for camping and day trips in nice weather. Moo liked swimming in the shallow water and dribbbling mud all over herself and us. We’ll be sure to get some shots of that next summer, but in the meantime if you are craving a quiet walk, perhaps some alone time where you can just be dormant and mull things over, Pinehurst is a fine place to be.