Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the porch

After I put my daughter to bed last night, I went outside to sit in the porch swing. The sun had set, but it was light enough that I could look out over the Serengeti that is my front yard this year. Somewhere behind me in the trees I could hear a Chuck-will’s-widow repeatedly calling. A light breeze skittered about.
A mantle of calm settled over me.
We have had a stressful few weeks here, what with a family illness and the volunteer job from down under (and I don’t mean Australia). We spent a lovely Easter weekend with my husband’s family, and then returned home to attend the funeral of my husband’s friend, a good man who died at 48, leaving behind a widow with five young children.
But as I sat in the swing gently rocking, I felt a small healing of my soul. I told myself I need to do this every day.
This afternoon, I poured my coffee and headed out for my five minutes, a very different interval today. It is 91 degrees F (so far) today, with a hot wind sucking the moisture from everything it touches. Black butterflies hung from the mealy blue sage blooms; a grasshopper clattered across the yard; a helicopter rumbled past.
Then a neighbor commenced shooting. Our dog Iris is terrified of guns, and immediately clambered up onto the porch swing seeking protection. I’m always a little nervous myself when neighbors are shooting. Does the neighbor know I’m outside? Does he know where his bullets will land? I began whistling as loud as I could, took some pictures, and came indoors.
I am not deterred. As part of this new resolution I plan to experience whatever is happening out there, be it good or not so good. However, my next excursion to the porch will be with my morning coffee. Perhaps that will be a more peaceful time on the porch. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Favorite spot in the garden:
Despite the heat and drought, the standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) are standing tall and proud out in the wild area in front of our house. These are native to our area, but were not growing on our place. At least, not until my mother-in-law gave me some seeds a few years back. This is the second year I’ve had blooms in this area – love it! Take note: the Jerusalem sage (behind the cypress) blooming in my post last week is dry and brown this week – too hot, too dry. 


  1. Love the pic of your standing cypress. Very interesting. Love your new resolution. We all need some relaxation, and it seems there's been a lot to get you down. We have neighbors that shoot sometimes, and I am like you - "do they know where they're shooting?"

  2. You've got the right idea about accepting the life outside your door. I have a hard time with drought. We're not far from you and I'm beginning to feel a hovering cloud of anxiety. Breaks my heart to see everything struggle--plants, animals, birds & insects. We water the plantings around the house and young trees but everything else is on its own.

    LOVED seeing your standing cypress! My only survivors of deer-shear are the ones that grew inside my fenced trees. And you know it's bad when Jerusalem sage wilts!

  3. @HG - one day my daughter was standing outside and a rain of shotgun pellets fell around her!

    @Kathleen - Love your term - "deer-shear." Apparently they aren't interested in my cypress, but did eat the blooms off the yuccas this year.

    Last night we scurried out to enjoy a rain shower beating down on our tin roof. It didn't last long, but was lovely for a few minutes! Settled the dust and wet the bottom of the rain gauge . . .

  4. Oh, I know that! It rattles down on the roof, and turns out to be more dry leaves from the ash trees, than water in the gauge ;~) But for now, we are OK and going into our rainy season. Amazing how some plants reappear from the roots, after some kind rain.

  5. Many, many a time, I have found healing and serenity out in nature. I may be feeling down or lost, and though I may not feel like going out, I go out and then magic happens. I hear the breeze rustling the tree leaves. A hummingbird flits by a feeder. The chipmunks chase each other across the leaves. It always helps...but sometimes I forget. I am so sorry to hear about your losses...you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Our little house on the hill has survived (barely!) by having that standing cypress outside. it didn't help that the chickens came earlier and scratched up everything right before this drought! Mom at least succeeded in keeping our little standing cypress standing.

  7. @Eye - Rain is a magical elixir!

    @Sage - You are so right, and I have discovered that also. Thanks for your thoughts.

    @Anon - Thanks, my best fan.

  8. Cynthia, ref. your comment at Hill Country Mysteries, the pianos were still on the bridges this morning. If you and your daughter go soon, you may luck out. And if not, you can go to the nearby Umlauf Sculpture Garden and have another kind of fun.