Published 11:24 am Monday, June 26, 2023
By: Jan Penton-Miller
To a four year old most things appear quite large, and a year
lasts an absolute eternity. When I was four my home in rural
Simpson County with the porch across the front seemed
gigantic. The memory of an encounter with nature on this front
porch is as fresh today as the afternoon it occurred.
It was past time for my trip to Mrs. Barlow’s Beauty Salon.
My mom always kept my hair cut short. It stuck out over my
ears, and I didn’t like it. I always wondered why the other girls
in the family were allowed to grow beautiful long locks, and I
was doomed to my boyish cut.
I pushed the long bangs from my eyes and relaxed in an old
chair on the porch. The hot summer sun beat down causing
beads of sweat to form on my upper lip. Lazily, I licked my lips
enjoying the salty taste on my tongue.
What a scorcher, I thought mimicking the adult’s conversation
I had overheard around the lunch table. In reality, the hot
summer temperatures had little effect on me. I enjoyed playing
outside in the heat and had never been exposed to air-
conditioning so I didn’t know anything else.
Occasionally, I would leave the yard for a little rest in the old
chair on the porch. It had overstayed it’s welcome in the house,
and was banished to it’s new spot until the kids and dogs
managed to wear it completely out. The stuffing was coming
out, but an old quilt covered the hole.
On this particular afternoon I sat in the comfy chair lost in
my imaginings when an uncharacteristically cool breeze
wafted through the trees in the yard gently rustling the leaves.
The delightful sensation on my warm, damp skin stirred
something deep inside me. My eyes widened with interest as
my senses came alive.
The blue cloudless sky of a few moments before had turned
grey. In the distance dark purple thunderheads danced
through the heavenlies as if for my pleasure alone. The gentle breeze of only moments before now whirled with abandon
whistling through the branches of my favorite climbing tree.
Thunder rumbled in the distance. I breathed in the smell of
rain in the air and felt more alive that I had ever before.
Lightening pierced the darkening sky like fireworks on the
forth of July, and thunder boomed like a cannon. I pulled the
quilt around my shivering body while my heart beat faster.
Excitement coursed through my veins while the actors in
nature’s show danced and sang their way into my heart.
That was fifty some odd years ago. My love of nature and
storms never left me from that day to this. The beautiful and
exciting cleansing and replenishing of the earth through a
summer storm always reminds me of the little freckle faced girl
on her porch in Simpson County and her newfound delight in
God’s magnificent creation.