On balconies and porches


It's hard for me to believe that I can still taste the night air, I can still smell the sweetness brought in by the deepening blue of late evening all the way from my childhood when I spent time on the porch with my dad. In this oasis, outside the house but comfortably close- the night so still, I felt lifted above everyday expectations and mundane cares and able to feel the human hum, the night unifying everyone. It was as though I could see beyond life, beyond the rigours of everyday conventions into people’s dreams, into their hearts, their fears, their hopes, the way they try.
 Here in the quiet of our porch (complete with frittering cement!) sheltered by our big spruce, it was easy to see the stars and easier still to see into my dad’s heart. He and I were in another world, one that offered perspective on every day life, one where my dad who was ill,  could relax , and not feel pushed by the demands of the busy world which were twice as hard on him. We were just ourselves, chatting and laughing about nothing until my mom would come out to say that it was getting too cold and I should come in and my dad would defend me so that I could taste the night a little longer. I saw how porches glow with a light all their own-they seemed to radiate life and to be a testament to the real life- the one which begins when we stop, the one which is apparent when we take a moment and hold it gently.

Porches are places for tasting life- coffee so rich when it is filtered through the clear air of morning, a second mug never tasted so good as when the view from your porch invites lounging for a while longer, perhaps lazily turning the pages of a magazine only to return to the view, sounds of life reaching you. It invites you to  watch people going by and let them suddenly become important in this space where there is nothing else this immediate, to take a healthful breath of other people’s life, taking perspective on your own life when you see them.

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