Forever Green — Life in the Tropics

"Fall in Apple Valley" 11 x 14 watercolor on rice paper

“Fall in Apple Valley” 11 x 14 watercolor on rice paper

When “good stuff” happens, we want it to last forever; especially things like vacations, romance, and wonderful weather. But as my mother used to say “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it!

My oldest daughter who was always wise beyond her years said “There are trade-offs in life. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad.” She said this so she could tolerate Washington’s grey skies and continual rain six months out of the year while she waited for the remaining half of sunshine filled pleasure and moderate temperatures.

I think of her statement often now that I live in the tropics where it stays green year round. It’s not just the evergreens that behave exactly as they’re expected to. It’s the plants, the grasses, the bushes, the winter and summer flowers that grow lush and jungle like and need constant pruning. In the beginning it was something to rejoice about. But after awhile, you get weary living in a season-free existence.

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Lush foliage and flowers that border the walkway into our villa.

“Another beautiful day in Paradise,” I tell my husband on our morning walks. We keep our eyes open for new colors and unexpected flora and fauna, but the daily scene rarely changes.

The trade-offs are the six months of perfect days unrolling one after another from December through May; a daily barrage of moderate temperatures and bright blue skies. Heaven most of us agree. And lest we forget, endless days of year round play on the beaches, golf courses, and tennis courts.

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Two brown pelicans enjoy the tropical water; blue-green and clear all the way to the bottom!

Life is full of trade-offs. We suffer through trials, illness and bad weather in exchange for the countless days we enjoy good health, fast friends, hearty food and cloudless skies. After all, most of us have learned to adapt to whatever befalls us.

There are cozy fireplaces and knitted sweaters to help us endure the chilly frosts of winter. We fill the cooler seasons with colorful holidays and festivals. We harvest the fruits of our labor and rejoice in drinking and merriment. We circle our loved ones around tables filled with celebration, grace and plenty.

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The next time your days seem overcast and your spirit gloomy, look for the trade-offs around you. Be willing to accept the bad times praying that they’ll be brief, and appreciate the sacred times of peace and enjoyment.

Here are some trade-offs I miss:

  • Hot chili on a frosty day
  • Warm spiced cider to ward of the chill
  • Fall leaves crunching underfoot
  • The smell of bonfires
  • Snow-capped mountains
  • Glistening new fallen snow
  • Fluffy snow balls
  • Wool mittens and fuzzy hats
  • Ice skating
  • Sleigh riding
  • Snow mobile riding/driving
  • Sparkling hoarfrost on trees
  • Using the oven to warm the house
  • The homey smells of holiday baking

Here are the trade-offs I don’t miss:

  • Raking fall leaves until your hands are blistered
  • Shoveling snow
  • Mounds of grey dirty snow piled everywhere
  • Slush
  • Frost bitten toes
  • Wet muddy boots and dripping snowsuits in the entryway
  • Climbing into cold sheets at bedtime
  • Slipping or falling on ice
  • Driving over slippery treacherous roads

After you make your own final list of trade-offs: those you love and those you hate, count your blessings. There are many more things to be grateful for than to whine and complain about and the benefits are well documented! You’ll live longer, and you’ll learn to enjoy where you are. The adage “grow where you’re planted” is one of those universal truths that carries us through when everything else seems bleak.

At table

At table with family and friends

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