27-Aug-04 (Created: 27-Aug-04) | More in 'Letters to India'

Spring in Jacksonville

Dearest Uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and the family in India. This e-letter is addressed to all of you as I remember my visit to India last summer. I just want to give you a taste of where I live and how our neighborhood looks like in this fair city Jacksonville, Florida.

Early April I took a walk in our neighborhood with my Dad and my REALLY cute brother.

Being cute has its advantages such as having your face placed on a web site.

This desert looking flower we don't see often in Jacksonville. My Dad tells me that this flower or fruit used to be quite common in the hot dry southern climate of India. I think it is the prettiest of the ones here.

My Dad tells me that this flower is also common back home. kind of pretty.

You see I am learning the camera. Another view of the same set of flowers.

If you really squint your eyes you will see a red bird called Red-Cardinal quite common to the south America and North America. You might wander why this picture. Well one Saturday I was having break fast around 8 in the morning. I usually eat one of the following for my break fast: a) Cinnamon crunch cereal square with warm milk b) Cocoa puffs - chocolate flavor - with warm milk c) French toast sticks with butter and syrup d) Toast with butter with edges taken off e) Bagel and butter.

On this particular morning through the glass window I see movement in a fairly thick fence bush. I squint my eyes and I see a bird nest. I call my Mom and it happens to be the nest of a very pretty Red-cardinal. We tried to take a picture. Well the result is not very clear, but you get to know the story now.

This is another view of the desert flower. You can tell from light and shades that this picture is probably taken on a sunny warm day.

Florida is home to so many different kinds of swooping birds, ducks, and geese. I suppose this feather must belong to one of the larger varieties of birds as this feather is at least a foot long. At my school I watch squirrels all spring catching gathering nuts among the beautiful trees we have. One day I might write another e-letter showing our school yard. The other day I have caught a "rolly-polly" bug. This bug is peculiar. When you touch this bug it closes on itself  into a perfectly round ball.

I am not sure what this is. Doesn't look like a flower but some kind of pretty flower like plant. Spring seem to last only a couple of weeks in Jacksonville. Jacksonville is considered the North Florida. The South Florida where Miami is the major city is at least 5 to 10 degrees hotter. For example Mango trees and other tropical trees like coconuts don't bear fruit in Jacksonville but they do in Miami. I was born in Ft. Lauderdale a city few miles north of Miami in South Florida. But I live now in Jacksonville, North Florida.

Jacksonville has a fairly long winter all of November, December, January, and February. Gets pretty cold. A few weeks of Spring and then a long summer again.

Click on the image to see a bigger image in a new window. You can close that new window to get back to this image. This picture is just another pretty view of the beautiful blue gray plant.

These flowers bring lilies to my mind. Very soft, tender, light purple and very feminine and not to mention pretty.

More of the same flowers again.

The grass and the flowers intertwined and embracing each other, and rising one above the other for attention and their dance with the light is very peaceful.

A field of dreams.

More of the same dreamy flowers.

This fiery flower is most suitably in a bed of volcanic pebbles. Not for the placid of the minds but quite loud and shall dispell any shades of winter gloom.

The queen of flowers. Seems doubly attractive as it wears a robe of modesty displaying full of humility. Though not a half bloom (Ara.viri - telugu) very attractive to the eye.

I go to school at JCDS. I am in my senior kindergarten. My class is named "the lizards". So I decided to take a few pictures of these lizards. Our neighborhood must have thousands of lizards darting in and out. These are fairly small in size, may be 3 to 4 inches but lots of them. Our neighborhood also has lots of frogs and snakes.

Grandpa you have to put on your glasses to see this lizard.

You can see this lizard perched on top of a very native small leafed very tough looking tree that can survive between the hot/cold weathers of Jacksonville.

You get to see a little glimpse of the neighborhood. What you are looking at is a mail box where the mail man drops mail twice a day except on Sundays. Every house in our neighborhood has one of these boxes. To send mail, we put our mail inside the same box and raise the red flag that is on the side. This tells the mail man/woman to collect the mail from that box as they may not check every mail box every day. This is not our mail box though as we haven't planted flowers on our mail box.

These flowers don't seem to like the sun that much. Facing the sun head one they seem to have cowering down in exhaustion.

This is an interesting flower. The tree is about 6 feet tall and the flowers are numerous. They don't look that attractive from a distance but from a close up this is a very pretty flower.

A close up.

Another of the same.

Another rose in the neighborhood.

A fully bloomed neighborhood rose. We used to have lot of roses in our yard. But deer came in the night and ate all the roses. They do this every day making it difficult. We tried pepper and things like that to stop the deer. Like goats, deer eat everything. They are very difficult on a gardner.

Another sign that the spring is on the wane and summer on the rise is the color of some of the plants. They are very dark green and quite healthy and young looking.  If flowers represent beauty and display, these dark green leaves represent vigor and strength. The various shades of trees and their growth patterns are very subtle and a joy to watch.

Another shrub. Another bush and a dainty rose.

These desert palm fruits/seeds are quite attractive in a close up.

Bounty is plentiful. Life is in every niche, and every corner. I was told, even in the deepest of oceans and hottest of volcanoes. Our place in the scheme of things a passing riddle.

Not only life, but beauty comes in all shapes and colors.

Gorgeous yellows. The dark spots seem the needed spoil for contrasting the yellow.

Well at the end of this hour long journey we reached the play ground. My brother is only 16 months. So I help him slide down. Since the pictures were taken he already learned how to do this on his own. He is very smart but he hits me all the time.

This is a small play ground in our neighborhood. We don't use it most of the winter as it is very cold and it is a chore to get dressed in sweaters etc. to go out.  Also the small swimming pool we have is closed all winter. In summer I go to the pool every couple of days. They also teach me swimming in my school through out summer. When I go to the play ground I try to play a little bit of soccer with Suhani Jain, and Jeda Bracken. The evenings are very nice. It gets dark around 8pm during this time. But soon mosquitoes will start. Hopefully we can wear the mosquito spray and we can still spray. The government also sprays mosquito medicine regularly where ever water collects.

They have just installed baby swings in the play ground. Narayan likes these swings OK. His favorite thing is to get up and run. He also like to bounce the big peoples basket ball very much. He just loves to play with balls. Everything round is a ball and hence playable. My Dad says that, this thinking gets him in trouble once in a while as he thinks parts of a female anatomy are balls as well.

I hope this gives you a little description of the neighborhood I live here in Spring.