Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer storms

It's storming out tonight. I've been sitting out on my screened in porch watching the thin blue shafts of lighting snake down through the black silhouettes of the trees. I'm drawn to watching it. The drum of thunder rolls on and on like a concert. I listen as it rambles away into the distance, thinking that is the end of it, only for another charge to begin before the last one ends. I smell the rain, but it hasn't gotten here yet. It's coming and we need it desparately. The ground is parched here as we are in an awful drought. One of the worst ones we've had in several years. I love sitting out here in the blackness on my porch watching and listening to the storm. It's mesmerizing and just brings back so many memories of sitting on the big front covered porch at my Grandmother and Grandfather's house in the summertime. We would all file out there after the dinner dishes were done and take our appropriate places. Papa would be positioned in one of the metal chairs up by the railing. The little round fire on the end of his cigar was all you cound see shining in front of his face. My brother would usually sit next to him in another metal chair and they would begin the methodical rocking back and forth in their chairs in unison. Grandmother and I would snuggle together on the glider. She still smelled like the supper she just finished cooking and as I lay up against her, the apron she always wore was slightly damp. Back and forth we would go in a rhythmic swing and I could hear her shoes click on the floor as she pushed us gently. Fireflies would dance in and out of the big arborvitae bushes that framed the porch. The smell of those bushes was pungent and mingled with the sweet aroma of Grandmother's petunias growing in concrete planters along the front railing and the curling smoke of Papa's cigar was an aroma that I will never forget. I loved those smells. I can't walk past a flat of petunias at WalMart or see a package of Tampa Nuggets behind the counter at a gas station, without thinking about that porch and summer evenings there with my grandparents. We loved to sit out there during storms. The dark shadows of the porch hide us all out of sight only until the flashes of lightening would fill the surrounding air and we would all see each other's faces for just a moment. "One, two, three, four, five" we would count until the thunder began. Papa would say that was how many miles away the lightening strike was. I don't know if this is really true or not, but we really believed it and couldn't wait until we saw another blue flash to count again. Rain smelled sweet on that porch and the little splashes that bounced on the concrete railing rolled down to moistened the porch's brick floor. Grandmother would warn us all to be careful so we would not slip and fall. We would stay out there until bedtime or until Papa's cigar burned out, whichever came first. Summer storms on that ole porch were magical. I'll never forget them.