Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The View from My Front Porch

This is the view from my front porch.

We live in a valley. In front of our house are acres and acres of pasture, a gently rolling space that stretches to touch a distant, tree covered ridge. In summer, as you can see from the picture, the green is often dotted haphazardly with big round bales of golden hay. In fall, the grassy pasture, a duller shade of green now, seems crowned by a ridge of glorious reds, golds, and oranges, a few stubborn evergreens successfully hanging on to the color of summer. On an early winter morning, the trees high on the ridge are sometimes covered with a thin film of ice that glints prism-like in the distance. And of course, after the bare grayness of winter, spring tints the ridge a light green that, at first, seems to be only a figment of my hopeful imagination.

For my birthday this year, my husband gave me two beautiful wooden rockers, and we placed them to the right of our red front door, on either side of the potted geraniums. Our front porch is a soothing, special place to be.

I often sit on the porch in the early morning as I finish my last cup of coffee. I sit there, occasionally, to read. And often, my husband and I spend whole evenings there, rocking, and talking, and rocking, marveling still, even after six years away from the Delta, that there are no mosquitoes to spoil the twilight.

I can sit there and sip, or read, or converse, with great ease. But what I’ve found that I can’t do is just sit there, alone with my thoughts.

And this is not just a front-porch issue. I find it almost impossible to just be. It makes me uncomfortable. My mind immediately starts listing all the things that I need to do—laundry, homework, housework, grading, buying groceries, ad infinitum. To our multi-tasking generation, sitting there doing not even one thing that seems necessary or productive may be the ultimate sin.

It’s hard to be still and know if you can’t even be still.


Anonymous said...

I am a Greenville, MS native, and I too still marvel at there being no mosquito buzzing and biting at twilight even after 8 years in D.C.

Summer seems oddly quiet when you leave the Delta.

lisa b said...

You just expressed one of my ongoing concerns: "It's hard to be still and know when you can't be still."

I have geraniums on my porch too.