Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

Rural Waters

Country at HeartYou haven’t seen it rain until you've lived in the wide, open countryside. Perhaps because of where I grew up, I'm partial to anything in nature from a country viewpoint. Out there, the rain comes down from heaven unhindered and in full view. For instance, where we lived, to the east of our house there was a large, long expanse of land that could be seen for at least a mile. When it rained, I would stand on the porch or in the window and watch the "show." If it rained really hard, the scene looked like a wall of wet, gray threads streaming from the sky in long, jagged lines. I just loved the sight.

My parents didn't mind us playing in the rain, because that's a kid's sport just like riding a tricycle. Actually, it doesn't do any good to tell a kid not to get wet, so we played in the rain and got as wet as ducks. My favorite little spots of rainwater are puddles. I call them little ponds, because the water collects in depressions in the earth. I went out of my way to find those small reservoirs, especially on a hot summer day. For some reason, kids are fascinated by small pools of water. Don't know why, but whenever I'd see them, I couldn't resist the urge to take my shoes off (if I was wearing any). I would put my feet together and jump with all my might as high as I could and land right smack dab in the middle of that pool. That was so much fun.

At one time, we lived on such a large body of water that I called it a lake. It really wasn't, but since I had never seen so much water, to me it was a lake.

There were rivers too (like Red River), but I never got close to them. We simply crossed over them while riding in the car.

Most country people seem to love ponds, because those are their "fishing holes." I passed on the fishing, but it's still cozy to sit on the banks of a pond. Actually, I love any body of water. Waters make the countryside what it is. The landscape is special with water, because those waters don't exist like that in the city.

To me living in the country is like having the best of both worlds. In the beautiful, wide-open countryside people depend on the elements, so it is always a joy when the rain falls, and in Southwestern Arkansas the sky "cries" a lot. That's a good thing, because if she keeps her eyes closed or wipes her tears away, then our world would be pretty dry. But when the waters fall, the ponds and lakes and rivers and brooks and springs open their mouth and "suck" in those necessary life-sustaining raindrops.

Now, I must admit that I don't really know the difference between a brook and a spring, but we called the streams of water flowing through the woods and pastures a springs. We encountered these narrow bodies of water while trudging through our vast wilderness. At that time, I noticed that water always flowed south. As a child, I didn’t understand why, but I do love seeing any water running through the woods. It is so neat to see crystal-clear water flowing, water so clear that you can see anything that lay just beneath its surface. It’s a thrill to see the water rustling and bubbling over the branches and rocks in its path. What a delightful feast for the eyes and the soul.

When we came to a spring, even if we weren't thirsty, out of habit, we took a drink. We got down on our knees, cupped our hands and allowed the cool refreshing water to flow into our little, thin fleshly cups. We'd slurp and slurp as much as we wanted, to our heart's content. Even old, shaggy Shep got his fill too. When we all finished drinking that delicious water, if it was summertime, we spent a little time frolicking barefooted in that little, un-walled river. Since spring water doesn't flow any higher than your ankles, there’s no fear of drowning and we kids had ourselves a ball. It is more than fun having your feet tickled by nature’s liquid fingers.

While heaven gives us its rain, the earth collects it in different ways, and any space in the ground naturally absorbs it. And while country people and city people share the same water, rural folks get to see water in more diverse forms and that makes us appreciate it even more.

So there you have it for the waters that we country kids enjoyed so much.


Photo by Fotolia/vadimgouida