Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can Keep the Flying Cows...But I Do Love a Good Storm

The steady drum, drum, drumming

Of water on wood

Droplets splashing

A soothing rhythm
Enjoyable repetition

A steady lullaby

For sleepy eyes...

~ktb 04.27.11

* * *

The steady rain outside is soothing and, in a way, cleansing, but is a stark contrast to the fury that Mother Nature has unleashed lately. Tornado sirens have become almost commonplace and the dreaded "red cells" on the weather map seem almost expected.

Last night was no exception.

I piled the boys up in our bed and took my post on the couch to monitor the bad weather as it moved into our area. With each tick of the screen, the brightly colored swath inched a little closer to Franklin causing my heart to beat a little faster. The lightning flashed, the thunder boomed and I lay there under a soft, warm blanket taking it all in. At one point, I turned off the TV and let the flashes of lightning fill the room as the hard rain made music on the deck railings outside.

My love affair with weather started as a young girl as I took pictures of dark cloud formations thundering across the sky. My sister and I would curl up on my bed and count the seconds in between lightning bolt and thunder clap to gauge how close the storm was to us. With each count, the time between the two would grow shorter sending us into a fit of nervous giggles. My love of a good storm was firmly cemented from that moment on.

Maybe it's the thrill of the unknown that gets my heart racing as the dark clouds loom. Perhaps it's the break from monotony that turns the four walls of my home from just an ordinary house into a place that is secure and protective. Who knows? Regardless of what draws me to a good storm like moth to flame, I am hooked. I wouldn't get to the point of having a satelitte dish strapped to the top of a van and data reports of wind pressure spitting out of a machine in the back seat... but I can sure see a Chevy Tahoe out scouting around for a cool funnel cloud.

Care to join me anyone? ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

If You Go Lookin For It, You Might Just Find It...

There have been a couple times over the past week that have have gone looking for contentment and, amazingly, I've found it.

One day last week, I'd had enough. Stresses that had been building over the past month as well as putting on a major event had simply worn me out. I had been burning the candle at both ends and trying to be all things to all people and I needed a break. So, I took what I called a "mental health day" and basically laid on a blanket in the back yard. I watched the clouds passing by overhead and reveled in the gorgeous blue color of the sky. I soaked in the warm rays of sunshine and rolled over to find the most delicate of flowers disguised as a weed. No bigger than a pencil eraser, this yellow beauty lay hidden among the blades of grass partially trampled as I picked the perfect spot.... and it was only after close observation that I even noticed it. I made note of its tiny, delicate petals and how perfectly formed it was. I marveled that had I not made a point to take a "time out", go outside, lay on a blanket and stare at the ground...I would have never discovered this perfectly perfect little bloom.

What a metaphor for every day life. What beautiful things are right under our nose--largely unnoticed due to our "busyness" or our failure to simply look for them? Yes, the little yellow bloom I found was indeed "just" a weed. But it was beautiful and a much-needed reminder that focusing on even the most minute, seemingly unimportant details can bring things into perspective.

I also found contentment this evening in the most simple of acts. And that act was cooking dinner. I picked up the boys from school and had NO desire to go get groceries. However, not only did I buy groceries, I bought enough to last a couple weeks. And after putting them away, I put in a load of laundry and began cooking dinner. The boys were outside and Keith was cutting the lawn and I found it. Contentment. I lit the candles in my kitchen and living room and soaked in the simple pleasure of having enough. Enough money to buy the groceries I needed (and many I didn't!), enough time to pick up the boys from school and take them with me on my excursion, enough determination to clean the house before we left for Easter so I could have a peaceful start to our week... and enough insight to appreciate the simplicity of an uneventful, regular ol' evening of doing things for my family.

Needless to say, I'm happy I made a conscious decision to look for contentment lately and am always amazed and when, and how, I find it. One thing's for sure--whether it's in the unappreciated beauty of a miniscule flower or the sizzling of onions in a skillet on my stove...I'll be looking at my life a little differently from now on.