Summer storms

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Brilliant bursts of lightning illuminated the ebony night sky as our car headed toward home and safety from the storm. Over and over magnificent fingers of power delighted and terrified us as we traveled through the heavenly show. One beam of light followed so quickly on the heels of another that the darkness was almost swallowed up.
Rain pelted us as our wipers struggled to keep up with the deluge of this summer storm. Sitting in the theater in Gulfport I had actually thought the booming thunder was a sound effect of the movie we were watching. It had been a tremendously scorching day with no rain in the forecast, but we all know how quickly storms can spark up in our region of the world.
Silently, I hoped that some of the moisture was falling on our lawn at home. The heat wave and lack of rain had been having a devastating effect on our small yard situated at the highest point of the neighborhood. Lawns at the bottom of the hill, I noticed, were green and lush while ours and others on the hilltop suffered. Facebook posts gave me a heads-up that the rain was indeed widespread with gusty winds accompanying the front.
Spotty power outages along the highway caused me to wonder if the lights were on at our house. Relief rushed over me when we neared home and my straining eyes fell upon the streetlights burning brightly. But what we saw as we pulled into the drive was not what we had hoped for. Potted plants were toppled everywhere with the contents spilling out. What a mess to clean up!!
Our big persimmon tree in the front yard lost a large limb loaded with green persimmons, making me remember how my sister could always trick me into biting into one before it was ready. Boy, were they bitter, and I was so gullible that she played this trick on me more than once. You would think that I would be cured of even thinking about picking persimmons, but I’m looking forward to trying new recipes when the remaining fruit ripens. Actually, persimmons are considered a berry, but enough of the botany lesson.
Since we were tired after our late night out, we left the cleanup for another day. Now that day has come, and we dutifully picked up stick after stick in the sweltering heat. I don’t think we could have been able to work outside for long without enjoying frequent water breaks. Finally, the job is finished, and the yard looks good again.
This time of year, each year, I dutifully do my best to take care of our flowers and other outdoor plants. I can’t stand to see them suffering from lack of care no matter how hot it gets, but I’m literally counting the days until the weather turns cooler.  I know some of you like the heat, but I am definitely not a fan. In a few short weeks the outdoors will once again bring infinite pleasure.
Without these dog days of summer I’m sure I wouldn’t appreciate the cool autumn days nearly so much. Even now I imagine colorful leaves crackling under my feet as the weather changes to cooler temps. There is so much to enjoy in this life.  What fun it will be to shop for a new bold-colored sweater to bundle up in for my grandson’s football games!
I know it’s a long way until fall, but a girl can dream can’t she?

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at