Friday, July 10, 2015

The Old Porch

I remember a porch from my childhood where the screens were rusty in spots, pushed in or pillowed out in others, all entered by a single screened door had a heavy spring that slammed it shut.

It was a strong spring that grabbed and pulled quickly to close the door challenging any wandering fly to get in and me too holding a glass or plate.

Braced against the back wall, facing the front screen was a squeaky glider with thin uncomfortable plastic green and yellow cushions festooned with cartoon sunflowers.

When you sat down you’d hear the swoosh of captured air escaping from the constricted sponge within the pillow until your body was stopped by the metal frame lattice underneath.

It mattered not. I slept on that glider many a hot and humid summer night. Air conditioning? Who had that in those days?

The porch was small, simple and special. Inside were two wrought iron tables with etched glass tops and a side chair with the same metallic construction as the glider and squishy cushions.

A small glass coffee table created a tiny alter in front of the glider. It collected glasses, books, papers and an occasional crust from my sandwich.

Just outside the porch and to one side was a grape arbor and vine. Once the leaves spread in the spring and the tiny bunches of Concord grapes formed pyramid like clusters you could watch the growth progression all summer. In the fall the clusters were as big as green marbles and rapidly turned purple and sweet.

Several feet off the front screen was sloaping rolling lawn, quilted with asparagus and raspberry patches. At the base of the lawn was a line of tall blue spruces that kept a cattail Savannah from encroaching on the lawn I had to mow with a push hand mower.

Along the side yard, next to the grape arbor, was a vegetable garden of dubious productivity. I remember one year my Father planting some tuber vegetables upside down. They came up, but with visible difficulty.

The porch was my hermitage, my lair, my domain of quiet to hear the sounds of nature, and most of all the wind. I became friends with the wind on that porch. It has always been my invisible companion. It comes in zephyr puffs, gentle breezes, and playful gusts, tagging bursts and even in a stealth-like stillness as the silent breath of nature. The porch is gone, but I’m still a friend with the wind.

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