Florida fall is a figment of the imagination


Avery Owens

Illustrated pumpkins contrast with a beach background. Despite what many might wish, Fall in Florida usually feels more like an extension of summer.

Rowan O'Flanagan, Opinions Editor

There are certainly plenty of things to love about Florida — the beautiful beaches, mild winters, lack of a state income tax — but we’ve reached the point in the year when Florida and I are not exactly on good terms.

Anytime I look out the window, I can’t help but imagine that the air outside is cool and crisp, just chilly enough to wear a sweatshirt after the sun sets. Maybe, just around the corner out of view, there’s a tree with brilliantly hued red and orange leaves waving in the mild breeze. Just the thought of it makes me smile.

Then I step outside.

The sudden return to our subtropical reality is jarring. Walking through the door feels like crashing into a brick wall of heat and humidity. It’s an abrupt reminder that in Florida, there is no such thing as fall.

Florida autumn is characterized instead by hurricanes — Sept. and Oct. are the most active months of hurricane season — inescapable mosquitoes, and of course, consistent 90-degree weather. It’s this heat that is most detrimental to the fall atmosphere. Any outdoor events scheduled can only be as festive as their attendees’ ability to ignore their own discomfort.

Friday night football games, a cultural staple of the autumn season, might not lack school spirit but are certainly an exercise in thermoregulation. Activities like walking through a pumpkin patch are nearly impossible unless you’re in a tank top and sunglasses. I can even remember multiple Halloween’s when I was little when it was simply too hot to wear a full costume, so trick-or-treating went on in sweaty T-shirts and accessories, running around collecting melted candy.

Without a break in the weather pattern, Floridians’ only real option to celebrate the fall season is to enjoy traditional fall foods. A pumpkin spice latte can always be made iced instead of hot, and apple pie can be served with ice cream or in an air-conditioned room. It may not be the equivalent of walking down a tree-lined street as colorful leaves swirl through the air, but it’s better than nothing. 

Floridians probably won’t ever get the Fall season we’re so blatantly lacking, but we can continue to hope. And who knows, maybe next time I walk through a doorway to go outside, I’ll be shocked by a breath of fresh autumn air.