Well, tomorrow we're leaving you for greener pastures. Literally. I owe you an apology, Miss Virginia, for how long I took to see your vast charms. I had an Okinawa hangover for the first year we were here and that was entirely unfair to you. I can see that we'll miss your style of the four seasons - winter here is just long enough to appreciate spring that much more (I will give you credit, though, for this last doozy of a snowstorm. A whole foot of snow here? Impressive!) And let's talk about your springs, with beautiful blooming cherry and pear trees. I love the memory of driving on a breezy day that looked like it was snowing with all those blossoms scattering on the wind. Then you lead us gently into summer, with beachy days, crepe myrtles on every corner, huge trees to give us shade that inevitably turn into amazing shades of red, gold and orange come fall. Ah, fall here. Crisp, not too cold; well done, Virginia, well done.
And then there are all your preserved spaces; you are ripe with hidden forests that make a new person think, "whoa! did I make a wrong turn?" but no, that's just how you do it here. Big expanses of trees intermixed with the growing cities for a brief respite from all the concrete and (glorious) retail. I would, of course, be remiss to not point out your stellar public parks of all types: trails, lakes, playgrounds galore, beaches, petting zoos, all just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
Of course you claim to be "made for lovers" and I don't know about that exactly, but I do seem to be leaving here with an extra child in my family. We really like her, Virginia, and I think it's so great that she was born here in the transition from winter to spring and that those beautiful trees will always make me think of her early, tiny days. She's leaving here the same age her brother was when we arrived and that makes my head spin. You see, he's gone from being a toddler to a boy; a boy who loves your tall trees, your beaches, your parks, your people. He's had such a wonderful experience here and so many of his firsts happened here, too: riding a trike, then a bike, his swimming lessons, learning to swing on his own, soccer, gymnastics, learning to be away from Mommy at Kidville and then using that confidence to breeze right on into his first preschool. And Virginia, I have to tell you we are all going to miss your jet-filled skies.
So Virginia, it is with all sincerity that I hope we get to call you home again someday. We're going to miss you.