Autumn Has Arrived in Florida

Ellie lets out a cross between a sigh and a whimper.

She’s sitting across from me as I put on my socks, and when I reach for my shoes she starts to pace near the door.

Another sigh. Another whimper. A yawn for emphasis.

The weather in Florida has cooled down significantly. In the late afternoon the temperature feels like a June day in Washington. There’s a cool breeze, which is a bit more chilly due to the humidity. By our sunset walk, I’m contemplating whether or not I should put on my sweatshirt. The maroon crewneck goes on, but the sweats are discarded in favor of shorts.

Ellie plants herself firmly in front of the door, eyes darting between the keys in my hand and the leash on the coffee table.

Miraculously, she sits still as I put her in her harness. That stillness is short lived as we make our way to the door. I try and get her to sit, but her gaze is fixed on the doorknob. Stubborn dog.

We open the door and go. It’s chilly, but my legs adjust to the cold and I turn on the flashlight to guide us around the dark corners of the neighborhood. Cold weather means foraging bears, and they’ve reported another bear sighting just this night. The cold weather also means the mosquito population is dying off and the snakes have disappeared, allowing Ellie and me to resume the nightly walks we stopped sometime in early May.

I feel a tug on the leash as Ellie diverts her attention to a new rabbit trail. I indulge her, hooking to the left. We follow the trail for two blocks, and turn right. I think I remember where this road goes. I should have brought my glasses.

We finally walk out onto the main road, and I switch Ellie to the left of me, away from the lone car speeding down Sunrise. She sniffs in the direction of the stray gray cat with the yellow eyes that sits in the ditch as we wind our way to the darkest corners of our cul-de-sac. We can see our house at the end of the road. Ellie’s tail begins to wag more furiously and her strides quicken. I indulge her, removing her leash so she can gallop home.

I’ll catch up eventually, but for now I enjoy the cold. Maybe autumn has arrived in Florida after all.

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