Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Day on the Porch

Yesterday I sat on the front porch for almost the entire day. Now that's luxury. Even though the wind was almost visible in its unrelenting strength, I was protected on the porch. I had no need to go anywhere nor did inside the house tasks beckon me. I could spend the day on the porch--and I did.

After my usual morning routine of going to Curves and then walking throught the neighborhood and finally taking a shower and dressing for the day, I gathered my morning meditation materials and my breakfast smoothie (Blend 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup water.) and settled in.

Always eager to discover what message my devotions would deliver, I often forget to center myself, to find the even rhythm of my breath, to become present to my body and to my environment. The wind, however, reached underneath the eaves and swept over my body and reminded me to become still. The wind was in charge of movement for the moment. Not me.  I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths and then with soft eyes I drank in the green of the tall grass among the trees across the street.  The whole range of greens, light and baby new greens, lettuce greens and Easter greens and "I just learned how to be green" greens.. Not quite the mature greens of summer yet.  I was ready to receive. I read the day's entry in Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening, and the next chapter in a book that is not a typical devotion book, but one that is giving me new perspectives on  speaking out and solitude and friendships,  A Life of One's Own, A Guide to Better Living Through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf. The only problem with this book is that now I  yearn to return to Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse and other books by her as well. Just when do I think I will do that? I wrote a brief entry in my journal, but most of the time I sat quietly and listened to the wind.

Soon my spiritual direction client arrived, saying as she came up the stairs that she hoped I would be on the porch enjoying the day. Instead of going to my office for our session, we sat on the porch aware that we were not alone, just as we are never alone, but this time the Creative Presence was the wind, whispering words of encouragement as we explored ways our spirituality is deepening and ways we are called to live a more spiritual life. Our time was blessed by the wind.

Later while I ate lunch and read, a young couple walking by stopped to chat. "Do you know anyone who is planning to sell their house soon? We are looking." Few homes are for sale in our neighborhood right now, but I thought what pleasant neighbors they would be, and I wished them well and remembered my many days of walking these blocks, hoping we could sell our farmhouse in Ohio and land here ourselves. Now here I am on our front porch.  May they find their home, too, I prayed.

The day progressed. I wrote a letter. I moved my laptop from my office to the porch and wrote some emails and did other miscellaneous desk tasks. I watered the plants and swept the porch floor. I watched children coming home from school--how many  days till school is out for the summer? I waved at people walking their dogs, and I overheard passing conversations from my almost secret location. A few days ago Bruce sat where I was now sitting and heard someone say, "I love this house. It looks so loved." High praise.

We ate our supper on the porch and caught up one another's days. Bruce finished planting his purchases from our trip to nurseries on Sunday. I returned to my reading--a book that may land on my "Favorite Books Ever" list, The Paper Garden, An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock. I am 63. Perhaps my life's work is still ahead of me. The porch is a good place to have those kinds of thoughts.

Later, when night was falling, I went for a walk, returning to the "welcome home" porch lights. Reluctantly, I went inside and shut the front door.  My day on the porch was over.


  1. Artfully written and wonderfully experienced. You remind me how healthy it would be to return to my days of contemplation. Perhaps I can, perhaps I can...

  2. Another wonderful entry, you have such a gift of making everyday experiences feel extraordinary and therefore blessed with grace. I have The Paper Garden on my nightstand, excited to read.

  3. What a lovely day, Mom! You deserve it.

  4. Oh, I wonder if it will take 40 more years to find my life's work ... I hope I find myself a porch like yours in the meantime!