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North Florida winters are nothing to write home about; they are dreary at best.  The colors seem to seep out of the Sunshine State and are replaced by dull foliage, gray grass, and naked trees that look out of place surrounding pools and beaches.  It is cold enough to discourage outside living most of us are used to, but the season lacks the harsh beauty of northern winters.  No wonderland here even when the temperature drops below zero and the night calls for a cozy fire in the hearth.

The shady sycamore trees become dreaded enemies of the suburbs.  Their giant leaves turn monotone brown during winter time and cover the landscape, clog up pool filters, and pile up knee high around bushes, fences, and outside appliances.  Later in the season, the thousands of lollipop-shaped fruit start falling and, as they disintegrate in mid-air, the hairy seeds land, compile, and stick to anything from outside furniture to your eyelashes.  Snow and ice sound better to me around Christmas-time.  I know at least one person who left the neighborhood strictly because she could not handle the yearly battle with these trees.

The good news is that, even in an otherwise depressing season, creativity proves to be an outlet for frustration and negativity.  I took the following photos at times of gray, sunless skies and never-ending rains, but they warm my heart even on the coldest, most boring North Florida winter days.