When I was young, I loved to play outside. Shocking. I know. But it was different out where I grew up. It was a straight shot down the dirt road to my granny and papa’s house, and I would ride my bike to see them almost every day. If I turned the corner and kept going my best friend was a few more houses down, and then a great-aunt and cousins on down from her. I knew everyone. Went to school with them, went to church with them, knew their pet’s names – everyone knew everyone. And maybe it was all the trees or how far we were away from the city, but it just didn’t seem as hot in the summer and was most certainly cooler in the fall and winter. Fall, incidentally, was and still is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the clean, crisp air after a Florida summer that invigorates every fiber of my being. I remember sitting on the porch and listening for the wind. I could hear it before I could feel it – the leaves of a thousand trees blowing as the breeze rushed around Horseshoe Circle until it would find a little girl with her arms outstretched waiting.
I’d forgotten, but falling in love is like that. Hearing a whisper of an emotion float around your chest, dance around your heart until it finally reaches your brain, and there you are – a little girl with her arms outstretched and waiting. Love doesn’t hurt us. People who don’t know how to love hurt us. Don’t put your arms down, little girl. Don’t ever put your arms down and stop inviting love into your heart. It’s worth it. So worth it.