My husband is a world-class ponderer. If you ask him to name his favorite place on earth, he will immediately start telling you about our back porch. How the catalpa tree houses so many butterflies and small birds. About how it sometimes smells of petrichor after a summer shower or smells loamy, like freshly turned dirt, when the field has been mowed. How the sunrise peeks over the tree line to the right, or how the turkey family often saunters by, completely unafraid of us. In every season, at all times of day, his happy place is sitting and pondering.
In the early spring, as soon as the wild daffodils peek their yellow heads out of the mud and ice, he layers up, grabs a soft, fuzzy blanket, and starts his yearly supervision. He loves the daily greening of grass, how the bare trees start sliding on their leafy dresses. The field shifts from fallow to gorgeously alive, hundreds of shades of green, with queen anne’s lace and yellow black-eyed susans dotting the recently monochromatic hillside. He spends hours in the blue club chair, drinking coffee and contemplating the state of his world.
On the back porch, summer arrives with the first lightning bug flash, bringing with her a lightness of heart. If spring sings a sweet melody, summer turns the volume all the way up. David has to get outside early to wipe the dew from the furniture; even with the long days, he only has so much time before the heat runs him back inside. He then siestas, rests on the couch until it’s cool enough to go back out and wait for the stars to peek through. Wake in the middle of the night and you’re apt to find him sleeping out there, curled like a question mark in the chaise lounge, our cat Monster tucked behind his knees. Once he startled awake to find a raccoon sitting quietly on his chest.
In winter, he drags the patio furniture into the sunroom, ten-feet tall windows on every side, recreating his atmospheric happy. He’ll stay up all night if there is a chance of snow. The Edison lights he strung on the back porch railing illuminate each fat flake as it drops gently to the ground. He’ll happily forgo sleep to build this life size snow globe while he anachronistically listens to brutally loud heavy metal.
But David is a Libra through and through. Autumn is when he – and his favorite spot – truly shine. As the sun nods her sleepy head, the melody quiets. Sound takes a bow as color takes center stage. As I can’t tell the difference between tangerine and yam, gold and forsythia, garnet and sangria, David narrates for my color-blind eyes. Clouds drift across the azure sky, light shafts like stage lights through the shadows. Rolled hay bales take the place of the wildflowers. The season smells of smoke and earth.
Though the Leo in me grows forlorn and lamenting as summer wanes, I happily spend fall on the porch with my family. We alternate between sitting around the fire pit, more visceral, and blazing up Paco, our patio heater that looks like a mini Eiffel Tower, less smokey and easier to shut down when it’s time to retire. We snuggle in blankets, exchange the flip flops for warm, woolen socks. Izzie brings her chromebook and finishes school assignments. I sip bourbon and read. David stares off into the distance, pondering.
Even as I grieve the shortening days and cooling temps, I find myself becoming more and more enamored of this season. In 2020, we began autumn porch traditions that abide. Check back here soon to find out my favorite fall tradition.