I love both of my volunteer jobs – each for different reasons. At the Flagler Humane Society I snuggle with, pet, and photograph kitties to my heart’s content. At Florida Hospital Flagler my ER buddy and I keep 31 ER rooms stocked with gowns, sheets, pads, washcloths, hand towels, blood pressure cuffs, heart monitor “stickies”, specimen cups, socks, Kleenex, gloves, etc. Occasionally we’ll wheel patients to their rooms or deliver them to their cars when they’re discharged. We provide chilly folks blankets straight from the warmer and do any other chores we’re asked to do by the nurses or administration.
While I’m mostly working alone at the Humane Society, at the hospital I work with a great group of displaced Northerners from New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Mike, who is my volunteer buddy in the ER, is the only true Floridian in the bunch. The rest moved down here years ago to get away from the harsh Northern winters. They LOVE Florida’s weather and are quite vocal during our breaks when I start talking about going to Mackinac in December. They usually look at me aghast and shake their heads, wondering – I’m sure – why anyone in her right mind would voluntarily go north in the wintertime.
But – when we settled into our chairs around the break table in the cafeteria last Thursday (each of us bringing coffee or soft drinks and one of the fabulous muffins left over at breakfast and offered free on the food line to us volunteers), I distinctly heard one of my Northern friends say – quite loudly – “Enough already!”
“Enough of what, Mary,?” I asked.
“This hot weather!” she said adamantly. “I moved down here for the warm weather, but almost 90 in November is ridiculous!”
I soooo agree!
By this time last year, we were in the 60’s during the day and having some 50’s at night. We’re still in the 70’s at night, and I don’t even want to talk about the daytime (ok, I will talk about it – it reached 90 here one day last week). It might as well be July! The nor’easter that was supposed to blow in this weekend, lowering temps and bringing rain, must have made a U-turn somewhere and become a sou’wester. No rain. No lower temps. Just hot, with tons of humidity mixed in.
Weather on Mackinac Island has been unnaturally warm also for November. They’ve had some pretty gusty November winds a few times, but so far the really cold stuff hasn’t shown up – and snow hasn’t even been mentioned in a forecast. I’m beginning to think my Christmas Bazaar visit the first weekend in December may be snowless.
It’s strange to me how slowly October passed this year and how rapidly November seems to be flying by. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and the week after that I’ll be heading north. I sometimes wonder if the love and passion I feel for my time on Mackinac will ever change, but I can’t really imagine that happening. In Joan Chittister’s wonderful book, The Gift of Years, she writes that “the beauty of the later years is that if we have learned through life to trust our own insights at least as much as we trust the insights we have been taught, we find ourselves at the end of a very long life with a very young soul.” For me, returning to Mackinac turns on my “young soul” so quickly I’m almost dizzy with it when my foot touches down on the ferry dock. I know many of you feel exactly the same way.
Thanks to everyone last week who added a comment about what you were up to in October. I so enjoyed reading every one, and I know everyone else did too.
See you back here soon!