I have a new special spot. Like an old friend rediscovered unexpectedly. This new spot is in a cozy corner of my screened-in porch. I haven’t used the porch in years. Covered with a layer of grime most of the year, it’s been just a pass-through to the back yard from my bedroom, housing half-dead plants, a patio table, my mother’s old green metal chair, my ex-mother in law’s bouncy porch rocker, where I sit right now.
This porch was my cat’s bedroom before she died. Her litter box was out here and toward the end she kept having accidents, poor thing. I had to hose down the porch all the time. When she died, I think the sad vibes and cat pee that soaked into the bones of this little porch kept me away. And who had time to be constantly keeping the grime at bay.
But a few days ago I gave it a good cleaning. Put new covers on the chair cushions, replaced the plants. I decided to read back here one afternoon when my back was out and there wasn’t much else I could do. It was hot but I brought out an extra fan, set up my old boom box, propped my feet up. Fell asleep. From then on I was hooked.
There used to be a different chair in this corner before I inherited the bouncy rocker. I don’t even remember it anymore. Next to it was a big, sturdy wood Adirondack chair where an old boyfriend used to sit with me. They were like mom and pop chairs. I used to hold his hand in the space between us. We’d just sit and shoot the breeze–nothing special. Listen to the birds like I’m doing now. Watch the squirrels.
The patio table hasn’t gotten much use. Too far from the kitchen. I remember a Mother’s day lunch out here years ago with my mom and younger son, when he lived with me. Hot dogs. Potato salad. Iced tea. The back yard was beautiful then. And a few times when my grandsons were little, I’d cover the table with newspapers and get out the Play-Doh. We had a ball. Made rainbow-colored cookies, giraffes, hearts, snakes. One of those little grandsons turns 16 tomorrow.
As I sit here, I see I made a mistake planting a palm tree where it’s grown tall and blocks my view of a beautifully shaped oak in my neighbor’s back yard. Graceful curving limbs, symmetrical and nicely proportioned. It looks serene against the sky. A Zen tree. My palm tree trunk a stubby cigar-shape blocking the beautiful tree. I didn’t sit here when I planted it, didn’t consider all the angles, thought only to soften the neighbor’s 2nd story windows from my back yard, fill a space along the fence.
Too late now. My perfect view will have to remain imperfect. Unless I take a chain saw to the stubby palm and sit an overflowing plant on its truncated trunk. I just might. I’m big on views. Big on beauty. Big on wanting things just right. The palm was just an impulse. On sale.
The wind is blowing hard now. A storm’s rolling in. Maybe just a threat. I call my son, my older son who lives here now, to come watch.