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Come Hell or High Water

Seeking relief from scorching Southern summers or just life in general? Front porches prepared us for just about anything, come hell or high water.

Heat dome or not, summer in the South is one sticky, humid mess of a situation. Even the vegetables in my garden are doing their best imitation of a genteel fainting spell.

Lord it’s hot.

Back in the day, this is when the big box fans would come out and we would have our faces plastered in front of it, letting the circulation go through our sweat soaked hair at high velocity. Come nighttime, those box fans would thrum all night long, providing a hypnotic rhythm that lured anyone and everyone to sleep. To this day, if I am ever around a box fan I struggle to stay awake. A lullaby of sorts I suppose.

I am not sure our survival during the summer months would have been possible without box fans, popsicles, shade, sweet tea, and some body of water to jump into. If you were lucky, you had a creek that defied logic and ran ice cold. The tingle of the temperature would send a delicious chill up your spine. Or perhaps you had access to one of the pools that still had an honest to God deep end. In the thick of the summer, you stayed in that deep end, and consistently held your breath underwater in said deep end as long as possible.

As important of a figure was the front porch. True, it offered the respite of shade. But it was also a factory line, and when you saw the bushel boxes you knew what your next few hours were going to be like. Snapping beans, shelling peas, shucking corn, or any other task that needed doing. Your fingers and hands would be bone-tired, but you know what wouldn’t ever be tired?

Your soul.

Those front porches taught the value of work, that’s true. After all, you can’t eat what you don’t prepare. But with every creak of a rocking chair, snap of a bean, call of cicadas, and gulp of sweet tea, you found stillness. The type of stillness that allowed you to have a conversation with yourself.

Stillness in simplicity.

We need more of that.

Those front porch factory lines rewarded us with freezer box popsicles and boiled peanuts, and at night, front row seats to the lightning bug show and the original starry night.

They prepared us for life and always provided room for meditation. Time to figure out what has happened, how we felt about that, and what we wanted to do about it. It may have taken a time or two, but generally we worked it out…whatever ‘it’ was.

This summer, I doubt you have bushels of vegetables that need tending to. And sadly, many a front porch furnished with rocking chairs have gone the way of home décor past. The lightning bugs may not even swarm as they used to.

But find the stillness. All those things, the work, the rocking chairs, and the lightning bugs, were adornments on the true work of art called stillness.

Stillness is the gateway, the path to peace. And it begins with a conversation with yourself.

Find your peace, your stillness, your refuge. It will prepare you for all things, come hell or high water.

But for now, in the blazing summer heat and scorching humidity in Georgia, well…let’s just say it’s definitely not high water.

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