A “Snow Bird” is a person who flies to Florida from the cold northern winter and then goes back home in the spring. A “Snowflake” is my term for someone like me who comes to Florida permanently and melts in an adopted new community.
I’ve met a lot of Snowflakes here who started off as Snow Birds. They tell me that after a few years, traveling back and forth and maintaining two homes, it became too much of a pain in the ass, so they moved here permanently and brave the summers instead of the winters. I’ve heard several times, “You don’t have to shovel heat.” In fact, thanks to very efficient air conditioning, you don’t have to suffer from it either.
So, here I am. My little snowflake self is melting in pretty fast, I think. Actually, this blog is to reassure the people who expressed such loving concern over my last one. Yes, the realization that this was to be my permanent home was a shock. Yes, I felt very alone in those first days here. Yes, my brown recluse spider bite wound got scary worse, but thanks to my Connecticut dermatologist who phoned in some heavy meds for me, it is healing. And, yes, melting, as a metaphor, is uncomfortable. It reminds me of Hilda, a spiritual teacher, who once said, “Kids, you’re all salt dolls afraid of walking into the ocean.” (Now that’s expansion.)
Even in those difficult first days, I took my fear with me and went exploring and jumped into a mix of culture: a screening of the Met’s Tristan and Isolde, three fabulous performances at the Ringling Museum’s Arts Festival, a dance class at the Player’s Theater, an all-day Sarasota Ted X event, screenings of Don Giovanni and The Bolshoi Ballet, another line dance class at the White Buffalo Saloon, four short plays at The Starlight Theater, and last night, a screening of Frankenstein. I’ve been to two churches—meeting people—going out to lunch with a group afterwards. I have met women around my pool, gone to my small community’s board meeting, and got volunteered to steer a committee to have the first group get together. All in about three weeks. So, I am definitely in the process of melting, as you can see.
It’s been wonderful. Happily, all the Snowflakes I have met are open, intelligent, and friendly probably because they are all transplants like me. Mixing metaphors badly there, because tulips and hyacinths don’t transplant to hot climes. Of course, I will not lose the essential me, but hopefully, the Snowflake part will melt and feed some new exotic plant in my life’s garden that will nurture others.