Southern Magic

Summertime view over Spring Valley Virginia

It would start with a cool breeze.

Okay, not exactly cool but less blazing.

Dark clouds would roll in over the hills.

I would take my place on the porch swing.


Thunderstorms in Spring Valley, Virginia were a sight to see. I didn’t want to miss a strike.

Our front porch, near the top of a hill, gave a commanding view.

I could see each strike in our little valley.

It fascinated me.

I’d see a flash and count until the thunder clap.

15 seconds, it was 3 miles out.

5 seconds, it was a mile out.

The rain was most intense when the lightning got closer.

The wind got gusty.

When the porch started getting soaked, I knew it was time to run inside and close windows.


One particularly gusty storm has ingrained itself into my brain.

I closed the windows and looked out through a front window over the porch.

The rain was torrential so there wasn’t much to see.

Just the frequent flashes and rapidly shrinking delay ‘til the thunder.

I stood next to a lamp that was turned on against the gloom of the dark clouds.


There was no delay.

The lamp flashed brightly and went dark.


Mere seconds later, lightning struck again.

I was still looking at the lamp. It lit up a bright blue for a second. Then it was dark.


The storm moved on and I reset the breaker and replaced that light bulb.

Nothing else was damaged since I had unplugged the TV and stereo (no other electronics back then in the dark ages).

The afternoon turned to a pleasant cool evening.

It was humid but not hot anymore.

The countryside had that

magical southern post-storm aroma.


I am tempted to draw a life lesson for you from that storm.

Instead, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Or you can just bask in that post-storm fragrance of damp grass, cracked oak and apple leaves, and soaked porch wood and watch the fireflies come out.


Those of you in the South know what I’m talking about.

If you’ve never experienced it, you need to take a summertime trip to somewhere in the rural south.

Then you’ll know what I mean by magical.

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