It’s 4:35 on Wednesday morning, November 2nd, 2022, and it’s already 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) at the Hollywood train station and very muggy. I’m dripping with sweat just from walking as far as the bench to wait for the earliest morning train*. It’s ridiculous. For this reason and others, I wish I had never moved to Florida. In my opinion, it’s overall a “nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there”. Or as many locals say: “Come on vacation, leave on probation”. It really is a shame, because there is a tremendous amount of natural beauty here, but much of even that has been ruined by invasive species, the main one being Homo sapiens.
It’s on hot and muggy early November mornings such as this that I truly miss being in Michigan, where I grew up. Say what you will about the Detroit area, at least there are fewer humans there now than there were in the past. It can be somewhat depressing to see that, but boy, in Autumn all the trees along the side streets in my hometown looked spectacular, and you could walk from your door to the street without sweating.
If the Detroit area is too sad for you‒or too flat‒then you could go to upstate New York, where I went to university. That was amazing in the Fall. Walking back to the dorm down Libe Slope after class at this time of year was like seeing a fifty mile wide fireworks display happening in slow motion, spread out over many weeks. Of course Winter was quite cold, bitter, and snowy there, but if you were adventurous, you could take a tray from the dining hall and “tray” down Libe Slope. I never did that, myself; there was a road right at the bottom of the hill, and though it was not busy, it was hard not to think about careening uncontrollably into some passing salt truck.
Actually, they really did an amazing job keeping the roads clear in Ithaca in the winter. They had to keep them clear. There were many slopes in town that could have served as ski jumps if you’d put an upcurve at the bottom, so these had to be cleared pretty much as fast as the snow could fall.
Of course, while I have my complaints about Florida, I did come here of my own free will**, and have had many good times and good life events here, the most outstanding of which was the birth of my daughter. I can’t ever complain about that.
My son was born in New York (not Ithaca) but we left before he was old enough really to remember it. Both of my children are Florida kids, effectively. I wonder how they would feel if someday they moved up North and experienced Autumn there for the first time, beginning to end. Would they be as wowed by its beauty as I always have been, or would they feel a homesickness for the heat of the Sunshine State as the weather cooled and the days shortened?
Of course, the days don’t literally shorten, just daylight hours. There are subtle variations and even occasional tiny diminutions of the day, as happened recently, but overall, the rotation rate of the Earth is going very steadily and gradually to slow, barring other inputs, so days will become longer. If nothing else, since the planet’s mass is not perfectly symmetrical, as it turns it must radiate some miniscule amount of energy away in the form of gravitational waves, and the Moon/Earth orbital pairing will radiate some, too.
When I say “miniscule”, I’m guilty of severe (and ironic) understatement. The sun will surely long since have gone through red giant and on to white dwarf status before there would be any appreciable loss of rotational energy from gravitational waves alone. I can’t give you the numbers‒if anyone out there can, please share‒but it’s tiny, it’s wee, it’s verging on infinitesimal.
Speaking of small things and their opposites, yesterday’s post ended up being unusually long and exceptionally dreary***, so I’ll bring this one to a close now. Thank you for your patience, thank you for reading, and if you have any comments about reactions to autumn, or to major changes of local climate due to moves throughout life, I would be interested to know about them. No pressure.
*Yes, I came for the 4:45 am train, but only because there wasn’t an earlier one. I couldn’t sleep.
**So to speak. I’m provisionally convinced that there is no such thing as free will. I could be wrong, of course, but it doesn’t really matter all that much. As I like to say, I either have free will or I don’t, but it’s not like I have any choice in the matter.
***But nonetheless true. I can’t pretend that it was an exaggeration nor that really, my mental health is just fine. It is not. It’s horrible.