“Though many a house has sheltered me in the course of summers past, one memory serves to tie them all. It’s early afternoon and all is sweet peace. Just
a shift of the pillows sets the porch swing swaying gently–pillows covered in faded chintz with the musty scent that attests to their long winter’s nap in the shed. The book lying tented across my chest is slightly musty too, foxed with the brown spots of age, since it was left downstairs in the bookcase thirty or forty years ago. You may be sure there’s nothing in it to tax the brain: It’s a romance and Cressida and Percy are settling their futures over a game of tennis. But I shall simply revel in the pleasures of the present, listening to the burr of the lawn mower down the road, watching the hornets busy themselves with their nest, biting into the slice of lemon I’ve finished with my iced tea.
Ah, the joys of a summer place!…Making our house our own was always easy. We could add what we liked–and subtract. Sometimes we’d spend the first few hours hiding the owners’ plastic lobsters, fake fishnets, and seagull mobiles in the deep dark closet to allow a clean-sweep for our time there…Drape a Marseilles spread over the sofa, swap the lamps around, frag the softest chair into the landing that overlooks the lake–all is permissible, all is comfortable…Someone would gather a bucket of irresistible shells, as pink as the first light of morning, and scatter them along the mantelpiece. There were always tomatoes ripening in the windowsills and handfuls of berries found on country lanes. A seagull feather was dropped on the duck decoy, and wildflowers, filled every jelly glass, shedding their petals on the table…We’d line the sideboard with jars of beach plum jelly from the Ladies Beautification Committee Fair and hang a watercolor of a rose discovered at a tag sale– and consider all of it quite beautiful indeed ( if anyone had paused to look between the dashes to the tennis courts or bike rides to the beach.)”
” Porch Swings, Old Novels, and Memories of
The Quiet Center: Women Reflecting on Life’s
Passages from the Pages of Victoria Magazine
When I read this, my mind took me back to summer’s past. Summers spent at the family camp in the Allegheny Mountains. There was this rugged cabin. When we arrived we had to unshutter the windows and brush away cobwebs. Make the double bunk beds up in all the bedrooms. Wood needed to be cut because we cooked on a wood stove, or outside on this brick fireplace with a metal grill over the fire. All crafted by my Uncle.
There was no electricity and we used kerosene lanterns for light.. There was also no running water and we pumped the needed water with a hand pump. I can remember thinking my arm would fall off.
There was an outhouse and I painted the door one vacation. I painted a sugar bowl on the door and lettered “The Sugar Shack.” Hunters called my Uncle the next winter to compliment the art work.
I learned some lessons there that have never left me. This planet of ours is so beautiful and precious. I learned to walk the paths in the forest as quiet as a mouse. I learned to appreciate the wildflowers and learned many of their names. I learned that the most beautiful thing in the world is being on top of a mountain and looking up and seeing that huge sky lit by the heavenly lights
I learned that I was small in comparison but that I was connected to all that I could see in the night sky. It was a lot. I began learning the lesson of appreciating each individual moment. I learned the importance of them and the contentment of living in the present moment. I would look up and yesterday didn’t matter anymore, and tomorrow would never come. When it arrived it wasn’t the future, it was the present. So my journey of living in the present began on the top of a mountain and it has taken me to lakes, oceans, gulfs, bigger mountains and right now; at this moment I am here writing for you..