Thursday, April 8, 2010
I'm terribly sorry I've been neglecting the Porch lately, but I have a very good reason: I've been sitting on the actual porch - which if you've paid any attention at all - is what this gal is all about. I don't like to brag, but when it comes to porch sitting, I'm hardly an amateur.
After a harsh Kentucky winter (by Kentucky standards, not Minnesota standards), we were blessed lately with sunshine galore and temps in the 80s. 80s!!! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! For a person who loathes winter, this was too good to ignore, friends. To paraphrase our drunken uncle, Vice President Biden, it was a BFD.
Therefore, instead of staring at a computer monitor the past couple of weeks, I have sipped coffee on the porch, lemonade on the porch, sweet tea on the porch and, well, okay, maybe a little wine on the porch. I've listened to the bird songs and watched the naked neighborhood trees slowly dress in their spring finest.
Ahh. Spring's that damn good. If there is a more beautiful color than new spring green, I certainly don't know it.
When I wasn't on the porch greedily soaking up sunbeams and contemplating life's deepest issues (like, I wonder if John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston will get back together, or Was Oates the one with the mustache, or was that Hall?) I likely was in the backyard, tending my secret garden.
I so love my little garden, selfishly hidden from the rest of the world by a privacy fence. When we bought our home a few years ago, the owners had decided to redo the small backyard but had yet to finish it. Other than the tall fence they'd just installed, it was mostly a blank slate. In fact, not a single blade of grass grew within it. There was a big tree (now home to our two squirrels, coincidentally also named Hall and Oates because one of them has a bitchin' squirrel mustache), a bunch of mud and a narrow dog run, but that was it. For someone who loves to tinker with a garden, the nothingness out back was a dream come true. Much like storytelling, gardening allows me to create something out of nothing. And that is what I set out to do.
I'm not a landscaper or a master gardener by any stretch of the imagination. Professionals would scoff at my efforts, I'm sure. But I've always relished digging in the dirt and learning by trial and error. I like to see how things grow, how they fit in with the big picture. So the past three springs, I've patiently filled that muddy blank slate with roses, hostas, azaleas, painted ferns, clematis, coreopsis, butterfly bushes, holly bushes, daisies and herbs (um, the legal ones. If anyone asks, I grow the other stuff for my "aunt" who has "glaucoma". Yes, I'm totally kidding, Mom & Dad. You know I grow that for you).
So when the garden once again fills with spring's lovely light, I am drawn to it - like Hall to Oates (Is that one too many Hall & Oates references? Well, I can't go for that. No can do).
I find myself wandering around the garden time and time again, seeing what has burst forth from the soil each day; what plant has leafed out; what bud might be on the verge of unfurling. Every day in spring, the garden holds a new secret, and I am compelled to find it.
There are many lessons and stories in spring's renewal and the tending of the garden - so much to learn about life in the sunbeams and the soil. But you know that. It's why there are so many odes to gardens in paintings and poetry.
I often find my stories on the porch and in the garden, too, which is why I've been out there, and not here lately. I, too, needed to shed winter's heavy cloak.
This past Easter Sunday, for instance, I grabbed my cup of coffee and headed out to the porch, where I watched the sunrise through the neighbor's delicate pink dogwoods. As I sat in my jammies sipping, I offered up a few prayers. Later that morning, my family dressed in our Sunday best and went to a traditional church service.
Guess where I felt closest to God?
So yes, I still have stories to tell and will get to them soon, but I have been happily distracted by Mother Nature and all her spring glory. I've been tending to my soul, clearing out the weeds to make room for new growth.
In the words of writer Minnie Aumonier, "When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden."
So, I'm sorry if I've been "Out of Touch" lately. But the garden, she is a "Gloryland."
~P.S. How this became a Hall & Oates/Gardening post is beyond me. But I don't explain what's in my head; I just put it down on paper. There are times I probably should rethink that strategy.