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.
This past weekend, I had time on my hands. I spent most of Saturday sitting in a deer stand and part of Sunday afternoon, too.
It was raining Saturday. The woods in the rain are lovely to experience. The rush and patter of the rain. The whoosh of the wind. The dance of the trees and swirling of light over raindrops. The noisy quiet of nature.
I spent time trying to focus the vision. I know one thing for certain. I am a home keeper at heart. Everything seems to come back to home. I love to travel. But home is my vocation. I expend a great deal of energy and thought on my home. Trying to figure out how to make it better. How to make it stay cleaner. How to make it more comfortable and user friendly. How to make it kid-friendly, both crawler size kids and grown, married size kids.
If I move this over there and rearrange this closet. If I get rid of this and try to find something like that? So it goes with me. Drives him crazy. I don’t mean to make him nuts with all my moving and changing. Sometimes I get things situated and think it will work and it doesn’t. Or something changes. Or it doesn’t fit the way I thought it would.
I do the same in my deer stand. I have three chairs in each of my stands. Each chair serves a different purpose. It took me a bit to work out the best arrangement. I like to be comfortable. It is a long time sitting.
But the reward of the confined space in the open woods is great. I have to sit still and let my mind be my occupation. I take my journal and write page after page of gibberish. But, amid all the static, I hear that voice telling me this is the way. I see the light for the next step. The fog clears from the vision for a moment and I have a chance to make a note on my pages before it is shrouded again. But, this time I am not in despair. I have captured a glimpse of the vision on paper. I have words I can refer to when I get unsure again of the next step.
Take the broom and sweep. Put away the paraphernalia let over from the past days’ adventures. Clean the fish tank. Pull a few weeds. Cook a good pot of tortilla soup. Get the coffee pot ready for the morning. Figure out what tomorrow’s chores will be. Decide what closet needs attention. Another page in my life has been written. Today was a good one. A good one preceded by good ones.
I just realized I am doing what my mother and her mother always did. My mother’s sisters do the same thing, too. That constant moving and rearranging in our homes. And so the family connection flows.
I love hunting season. One of the main reasons is the time to unravel my mind. And let Him show me wonders of his world. And have time with him adventuring in the mud and rain.
A weather system is moving in from the Gulf. It may be a tropical storm by landfall.
Thankfully, I had some time in my schedule today to get the yard readied. I moved my potted palms against the house along with the other pots of plants. I picked up some odds and ends and put them away in the shed. I put my yard tools in the shed from the carport. I took his flag down and put it in the house.
I know it is only forecast to be at most a tropical storm. Having seen the likes of Rita and Ike, I try to not get nervously excited over it. Still, the wind and rain can make a mess of things and I wanted to do a little prevention.
I have plenty of food in the house. Our water company is set up to provide continuous water. I filled up my car with gas. I hope the children and he did the same.
I am sitting out here on the porch now sipping coffee and listening to the rain coming down. Just a regular rain at the moment. No wind. The windows are fully open.
This is one of my favorite kinds of moments. The porch, the rain, the coffee. My memories hold many moments of enjoying this kind of thing. I love the sound of rain. Thunderstorms are awesome to me as well. No fear, just respect.
My son and his bride are home from the islands for a short visit. We have had a little time with them. This storm has disrupted some plans we had made. But, just the brief moments allowed are appreciated. So many people love them so much and miss them being here in Texas, we have had to share them more than we would like. What parent doesn’t want to hold tight to their child after having felt their absence so intensely?
My daughter and I had a wonderful visit cooking gumbo and potato salad and all yesterday. She, her father and I rode up to see the overfull lake and rivers. She is full of plans and has an agenda to meet her goals. Prayerfully, I hope for continued progress and blessings on her path.
I had not realized how quiet my home life had become until they came to see us. Something about my two children is so intense and vibrant, it tumbles my heart around and I feel unbalanced. They are not afraid. We worked so very hard to make sure they were not afraid. Their courage and boldness is awe-inspiring. I don’t mind the unbalanced feelings. It means they are dancing. Just the way I always hoped.