The past few days I have been recalling things from the past. In this battened down world we live in, all climate controlled interiors and automobiles. So much concern over every thing under the sun.
It rained some this week. Not so unusual. Except I never smelled it. Once upon a time, I would smell the rain before it arrived. We lived with open windows and screen doors that were latched at night only to keep the coons out. The wooden door stayed open. When a rain shower or storm was approaching, we could hear the thunder and smell the rain coming, I miss that.
This evening, I determined to sit outside as long as the mosquitoes would allow. As the evening faded to dusk, bright thunderheads billowed above darker clouds to the east. A rumble of thunder sounded. It didn’t come close enough to smell it.
I could hear the shrieks of children playing in the neighborhood. That used to be us in this very place.
The cicadas and crickets and frogs sang a deafening chorus. Shadows darkened. The evening sky was still pale. A dark flicker appeared. Bats! A couple of bats danced across the sky.
A made my way into the house reluctantly. Wanting to stay out in the coming darkness. Needing to come in and get ready for bed. I wanted to check on him, too.
He works painfully long hours. His day job and then the cows, along with all the other chores that living requires, makes for one tired fella.
I’m not much of a cow dog for him, but I get out there and try to move the way he says. We started the morning doing just that. They all loaded right up for a trip to the vet for shots. Lucky me!
I keep trying to find the magic in the ordinary. Most days I find one or two things. Some days, I come up blank. Some days, every thing feels magic.
I miss some of the full experience of summer. When I was growing up, we didn’t use air conditioning. We had a window unit, but it was only used to cool the living room in the evenings while we watched television after our baths.
This insulated world I inhabit does not allow the sights, sounds and smells of nature reach my senses. I don’t feel the thick tropical air of my Texas jungle home. People today seem personally offended by the natural heat and humidity of a Southeast Texas summer. I just take off my fogged up eyeglasses when I go outside to get in the car.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the air conditioning very much. Especially to sleep at night. Still, I sometimes wish to open the windows in the darkness of twilight and hear the crickets and frogs sing to the stars.
When I was a child living in this very house, a pair of whippoorwills lived in the front yard near the cedar tree that is no more. I heard one a few nights ago when I happened to be outside at dusk. My heart was thrilled at the sound of music in the fading light.
Grape sodas, fudgesicles, bologna sandwiches all tasted wonderful when I was a kid. Water from the end of the water hose was the best thing in the world to drink. I had to be careful to let all the scalding water run out before touching it. There will never be a watermelon that tastes like the ones I ate before age twelve. It all tasted better because my body was hot, thirsty and tired from physical exertion running and riding a bike and swimming. Anyone who knows what it means to “smell the rain” understands the feeling of relief and sense of peace it brings. Childhood was summer spent outside.
The world felt better because I was innocent. I didn’t know about death and disease, war and hate, discrimination and intolerance. I knew the clean facts of history presented in school classrooms, but never imagined all the horrors as an adult I have learned existed and still exist.
Innocence of childhood. Truth and honesty of living. I can only bare so much pain. It is a fine balance point to remain compassionate and not become indifferent to others’ sufferings. It requires retreating to the mind of a child. Taking things as they come and responding with honesty and truth. Tasting the fullness of living and not gorging on the horrors of life.
I must again express my gratitude for having a loving Father and a loving spouse. Both provide me with strength and protection from the horrors of life. When He allows or sends something into my life that is too difficult to bear alone, He and he are with me to get me through to the other side. They help me remain compassionate and regain my balance. I am eternally grateful for what I do not deserve. The blessing of being able to smell the rain and hear the night creatures serenade the stars. A Father’s Mercy and a husband’s love. I cannot regain innocence. I can get up and live fully, engage with life to become thirsty and hungry and truly taste the fullness of living.