Monday, April 9, 2012

Sitting on the Front Porch

It seems that every minute of the day fills me with an anxious feeling that I should be working on a project, or two, or three. Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling burning batons of responsibility and if I don’t keep tossing my hair is going to catch on fire.

This weekend was different. After all, it was a holiday weekend, and one of those rare opportunities when my entire family was under my roof. I figured emails, book orders, volunteer work, and that nagging little voice in my head that keeps saying, “you’re getting farther behind,” could just take a rest.

After breakfast of biscuits and gravy, we had an impromptu Easter egg hunt for the two youngest grandkids. Since they were dressed in their Easter outfits and ready for church, we hid the plastic eggs in the living room.

During services this morning, the pastor asked the questions, “How many doors have you gone through this morning?” I’ll have to admit, I’ve often thought of the symbolism of doors. Jim always likened death to closing one door and opening another. But physical doors—had I ever thought about that? How many doors do I go through in the course of a day?

This house that Jim and I built has a lot of doors. I pass through them time after time. It seems that as I get older, I’m passing through them even more often when I realize I’ve forgotten something in another room. In addition, this morning, I was almost to my car when I remembered my camera. I into the house, picked up the camera and passed through the same door to go outside.  

This afternoon, I spent about an hour working on an upcoming presentation. With the sun shining brightly outside, I turned off the netbook and made a pitcher of tea. I poured a glass and walked through the door to join my son, Eric, and daughter-in-law, Shawna, on the front porch.

“This is a perfect day,” I said. The thermometer showed nearly seventy degrees, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We walked out into the yard to enjoy the warmth of the sunlight. Birds chirped, squirrels barked, and a crow cawed loudly before he flew across the yard in a straight line toward the woods. The phrase ran through my head, “as the crow flies.” We talk about that when we are trying to describe not how we would make the journey, but the distance without those normal boundaries. I noted that the crow actually flew in a straight line.

We meandered out onto the gravel road and started walking.

“You used to walk the dogs to the corner nearly every day,” Eric said.

“Yes, I did,” I said thinking about Bubba the huge, furry mixed-breed dog and Sherry the German shepherd. Both dogs died years ago. Bubba died from old age and Sherry died from grief a few months later.

After our walk, we sat on the front porch visiting and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Sunday was so unlike Easters of the past. When Jim’s parents were living, their house and yard overflowed with family. The little kids would be kept inside while the older kids and adults hid hundreds of eggs—plastic eggs, hard-boiled eggs, peeps, chocolate foil wrapped eggs. The kids would  rush outdoors with the biggest basket they could carry to gather Easter Goodies.

This Easter, we watched Katrina the cat chase a lizard. We sat and visited like the old days except that the ding of cell phones interrupted the conversations as friends near and far checked in via text messaging, email, and Facebook.

After a few relaxing hours spent on the front porch, I carried the holiday feeling throughout the evening. I didn’t turn on the netbook and answer the annoying email I ignored yesterday. I didn’t work on the spreadsheet, place any orders, worry about my committee lists or corporate sponsors, or my taxes for that matter.

A holiday should allow time to sit and contemplate the significance of how many doors I pass through in the course of a day. And on Easter Sunday, I enjoyed the gift of a perfect day when I indulged in the simple pleasure of sitting on the front porch with family.

Copyright April 2012 by L.S. Fisher
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