By Sam Burnham
Sometimes we get too caught up in the race. We get focused on poltics or cultural struggles or work or any numerous other distractions. Too often I get so caught up in fighting for Southern culture that I miss out on actually being Southern. That's what I'm seeing right now. I'm starting this post after a much needed porch sitting during a storm.
I needed it
There is something rejuvenating about sitting and listening to a storm. In the South, we learn early on to respect storms. The right storm can swoop in and take everything you own. But a storm can restore you as well. Beyond the life giving water that a storm brings is something that can reach into your soul and heal you. The rumble of thunder in the clouds, the cool breeze on your cheeks, the sound of the rain bouncing on the ground and rattling in the downspouts, that fresh smell in your nostrils, even the flash of lightning can make a great opportunity to stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on what you are (and should be) doing.
We spent Saturday in the yard. It needed some attention to bring back someone the aesthetics that are needed to make a house a home. Restoring order to that space took effort. Looking at what we achieved gave the whole family a sense of accomplishment and also a space that gives us the joy of having something beautiful just outside the door. My teenage sons now have seeds in the ground, something they can look forward to as summer sets in. The fruits of our labor included the joy in the labor itself. Getting our hands in the dirt, cleaning, trimming, mowing, pruning, it all has a restorative value to it - for the space and for us.
I didn't get the full realization of this weekend until I took a moment tonight to think about it. I needed to sit out the storm, think about the weekend and what I accomplished. I needed to think about The Block I mentioned in the earlier post. I needed to remember that sometimes I try too hard to do things that seem important at the time but that can draw my attention away from what's important while leaving me with that block that keeps me from what's ultimately important. And it doesn't matter how hard I fight for Southern-ness if I don't take the time to live what I'm fighting for.
So that's where I found myself: sitting in a chair and taking in the storm. It gave me some clarity, a little peace, and hopefully has me back on track. Don't miss the chance to take in a storm.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire