I like to hear the phrase, “Hello, child” even though I’m 40. I like the comfort of eating warm plums right off the tree. I like the hot summer rain that you can smell a mile away and that steams up from the asphalt in the afternoon.
These things are like deep calling to deep, and they soothe a place somewhere in my soul that nothing else can reach.
I like the sharp song of the cicadas, the chirps and croaks of frogs, the heavy, sweet smell of honeysuckle, the creak of a porch swing. My mind unwinds to the trill of “whippoorwill” and “bob white” across the evening and comes alive again as thousands of lightning bugs pierce the air with a Morse code all their own.
As the summer heat settles in, I watch the relentless humid progress of kudzu with its transformative powers, its ability to mask and drape, creep and cover until everything in its path becomes less of what it was, taking on some secret amorphous life for the summer. Looming, tangled, and unknown.
I like the Southern quality of moving slow. It looks a little like ambling. And it might be. But slow is important. Like savoring. Savoring every moment, every sight, every sound. The quality of milking more out of the day than just the allotted 24. The slow. The sweet. A quiet optimism. Allowing time to unravel and reveal what we might not see.
Where our stories aren’t told too quickly, but ebb and flow and change as life itself does. Where words are soft and still sound like yuh-luh and pill-uh. Where chicken, okra, and tomatoes crackle in the cast iron, and we look at people in the eye. A place where the steadfast figure of a man like Atticus still represents what we admire and hope to grow into.
To feel your roots running deep and know your place in the world.
Strong, kind, generous. Bound together by a rich history and many people. A living, breathing thing.
Dear Lord, may our hearts and minds still…
and make time to notice…
to breathe deeply…
to tenderly lilt…
at the slower pace of Our South.