Reflections on a porch


Porches, Southern Homes

Light, leisure & time: Luxuries of a simplified life

Susan Caba
The Resale Evangelista

There’s something about a porch, especially one that wraps like a hug around a house, providing shelter and comfort. Here in Chapel Hill, many mornings find me sitting, as I am now, in a faded blue Adirondack chair on the porch, interrupting my reading to watch chickadees fluttering around the bird feeder.

Matisse Gold Fish, 1911, I hung the feeder over a tiny goldfish pond, hoping to discourage the cats and the squirrels from guerrilla raids on, respectively, the birds and the birdseed. Occasionally, a small frog leaps from a crevice in the rocks bordering the pond. His splash is small, but enough to startle the goldfish. All six dart to the other side of their world, molten sunlight captured just under the water’s surface.  Pine needles net the pond, their geometry emphasized by a single lemon-colored maple leaf that fell prematurely. I think of Matisse.

My novel isn’t enough to distract me from the expanse of trees, shrubs and open spaces that flows from the porch and pond, on across a gravel road to another woodland vista. I imagine rhododendrons and azaleas interspersed among the tall pines to further block the sight of occasional traffic, and wonder whether iris would thrive near the woods’ edge, where the soil is cushioned with pine needles.

I’ve been puttering in the garden. I potted up some rosemary and sage to take inside when the weather turns cold. I’m contemplating digging up some ferns down by the creek, and planting them at the edge of the pond. Part of the pleasure of staying in new places that aren’t your own is imagining the changes you would make, regardless of the fact that what exists is already beautiful. This is especially true because there’s no need to actually get anything done, let alone stick to a budget.

Henri Matisse, 1937 Odalisque with Yellow Persian Robe and Anemone.  Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White CollectionAs I write, I realize my eye is drawn to the edges, the borders and boundaries of the landscape. That’s where the light changes and textures shift, where one plant grows and thrives, while others wither or struggle. It occurs to me that I am at one of those edges in life’s landscape, in the transition from one emotional and mental environment to another. Will I adapt and thrive? Too soon to tell…

The Resale Evangelista is simplifying, clarifying and trying to live a more artful life.

3 thoughts on “Reflections on a porch

  1. Pingback: Damn! I’m jealous… | Resale Evangelista

  2. Cathy Luh

    Yes, Matisse! When I visited you, I could see the intricate patterns of nature –vines, flowers, trees, the garden –each with with its own design but also interconnecting. Lovely.



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