My dad and I had a special relationship. He and my mom had been married for 17 years before she was able to carry a baby to full term. Today their ages – 37 for mom and 44 for dad – when their first child was born would not seem odd, but in the 1940s it was. Momma told the story of her deep yearning to have children. She probably felt a personal kinship with the women of the Bible who had barren wombs. She identified with Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and Elkannah’s wife, Hannah. Hannah prayed for God to bless her with a child. She later gave birth to Samuel. Sarah gave birth at the age of 90 to Isaiah. Momma also prayed for children.
I knew my brother and I were much beloved. Sometime Daddy and I would sit on the front porch after supper in the summer. He would talk to me about the huge family he sprung from. His father had been born in slavery in 1850 to a white father and black mother. His father was named Isaiah. He married a woman by the name of Emma. Together they raised 14 children on farm acreage given to him by his father. Daddy was the baby and was probably spoiled. In my adult life when I’m stressed and faced with challenges, my mind harkens back to that simpler time and a devoted father’s love. I wrote the poem below during one of those times …
The Front Porch, ©2003
by Laura Lowe
Upon a place and upon a time,
I slip into a front porch swing.
With each gentle ride back and forth
Urban superficiality fades away.
In a world just out of reach,
Familiar melodic sounds fill a breach
between modern stress –
and much needed time to rest.
In the gloaming birds are singing
As they find a place to roost.
Tucked in snugly, they await a new day’s birth.
Oh, how peaceful – their sounds of mirth.
By some unseen cosmic signal
the cool dark curtain of night softly, silently descends.
Soon a mid summer’s night scene unfolds
in non-orchestrated splendor.
Heat lightning flashes in the northern sky;
while hundreds of fireflies flash in grassy
hillocks and leafy knolls.
Heaven will not be out done by the show on earth.
In the unlimited blackness of space millions of twinkling, sparkling stars
appear like heavenly fireflies in galaxies far, far away.
The amazing visual delight is augmented by such a cacophonous noise.
My soul, my spirit is calmed by creatures unseen –
no matter how I peer into the darkening green.
Dozens of frogs residing in the nearby creek
utter throaty croaking sounds, slightly off key.
Joined with the hind leg rubbings of cicadas and crickets,
it is a delightful symphony whose unseen maestro
has always been here.
Immersed in such a place, one is so near the beginning of time.
It is frightening.
A slight rebellion in our rational brain
nags us to return to the present time.
Alas! We must relinquish the mood.
For we cannot stay in a Unitive Experience forever.
Not in this life.
You see it is just a glimpse of heaven’s reward.
Once upon a place and a time far, far away.