Jacksonville is not Seattle, as heat and humidity made obvious the first time I stepped out of Jacksonville’s two-concourse airport. I traveled the rest of the way to Joanna’s house by car, past sunlit swamps, palm trees, Spanish moss. To a Pacific Northwesterner, these natural features represented vacation and sightseeing, but here they encroached upon strip malls like weeds. Nothing to see here, Jacksonville says of its flora, Come inside where there’s air conditioning. In my corner of the country, we’ve pruned our trees into a brand: evergreens on our drivers’ licenses, evergreens on our birth certificates, evergreens uprooted and planted on top of apartment buildings. And back home, only one in three homes feels the need for A/C—although the flip side of that, and another part of our brand: the University of Washington’s counseling center warns its students (or boasts) that they’re five times as likely to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder as their Sunshine State relatives.

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