Here we measure seasons by small changes in temperature and for one, heavy rainfall.
We are the calendar reliant, otherwise left to look at the moon and count to ascertain roughly
what month it might be, but we now live in a solar calendar world so our lunar efforts are necessarily doomed to failure.
And holidays are different here, Christmas has no snow, so we decorate our palms and perhaps have inflatable snowmen or reindeer, and hang icicles from our gutters as a reminder of what winter is for so many other than us.
Once the winter stars wrapped in their cloudy shroud shed frozen tears, unwilling to come out of hiding. We searched for them in vain, knowing our failure, retreating to the warmth of home, only to repeat the failed effort on so many other nights.
Now, here, the winter stars are usually fearless, some drowned by the moon, but she waxes and wanes and they reappear, the brightest never fearing the chilled sky. We stare at them in wonder having forgotten for so many years just how beautiful they can be in their glory.
There is a strange beauty in the slow loss of sight, for there is a progressive transition, a discovery of much that went unheard, unfelt, missing in the glare of the need to see, to categorize and organize, memories neatly arranged in an array of curated visual files.
But without sight what once was cast aside as noise is an intricate tapestry of sound and undistracted, you begin to see the individual threads to see deeply into the art and craft of the unknown weaver.
Without sight, you so often store images in two dimensions but now requiring touch, everything is three dimensional of necessity and the world is infinitely more complex and yes beautiful than you recalled.
And the darkness of night, which marked a border that dared not be fully crossed grows meaningless and hours once lost may again now demand to be lived.
She says her favorite month is May, when spring’s grip is tightest, but most of all she cherishes the rain. She is intimate with the rain, there is a privacy that only she can concede, if she wants. She can take a drop of rain and it is hers alone, she need only share it with the sky, it is always clean on her tongue. She may borrow rain from the trees, catch it as it slides from leaves, or watch it slowly tumble from the eaves of the house she remembers from childhood. She loves walking barefoot through fresh fallen puddles as it washes bitter memories into the willing earth.
Of course when we lived up north we wouldn’t have imagined this, sitting on our lanai watching the sun set the patchy sky ablaze sipping small glasses of port and wondering if a light jacket might be in order, as the beaver moon of November waxes slowly.
The cat, curled at our feet cannot imagine the icy wind howling down the street, the foreboding clouds offering their first flakes, knowing this is a small taste of what nature will bring forth before we could again sit in shirtsleeves on our porch.
We do not like to admit that nature laughs at us as we pretend to bend her to our will and desires.
We dam and reroute rivers, but the river knows well that it will return, flow where it wishes, for it will be here long after we have returned to the soil.
Still, now and again nature grows weary with our meddling and unleashes her fury in ways we are incapable of stopping, and laughs when we seek divine intervention from the utter depths of our powerlessness.
In the early morning, before I open the blinds, before the sun approaches rising, I imagine the chill enveloping everything outside, October slipping quickly toward November, to the possibility of rolling snake eyes, to snow.
Winter always came that way, unannounced, and at least by me, unwelcomed, the last of the crimson, flame orange and ochre leaves dragged to the earth and buried ignominiously.
But I know when I do open the blinds, even while the sun is still in its celestial witness protection, I will see the shadow of the palm trees and know that here we measure winter on a wholly different scale.