Wednesday, August 22, 2018

SEASON OF FRIENDS


Vickie and Anne on porch
This summer has been a season of friends, traveling afar to be with them and staying at home to receive them, and the latest visitor was a long-term friend from New Iberia, Louisiana. Yesterday, Anne Simon, author of mysteries called “The Blood Series” — Blood in the Cane Field, Blood in the Lake, and Blood of Believers — sat a spell with us on the small porch facing our woods here in Sewanee, Tennessee. Presently, Anne, a retired district judge, has turned her attention from writing mysteries to telling the story of an African-American woman named Felicit√© who nursed yellow fever victims in New Iberia during the 19th century, and we enjoyed a good writers’ chat concerning the extensive research she has been doing regarding Felicit√©.

We sat on the porch “taking the air,” as we say in south Louisiana, and I was reminded of the essay I wrote for Porch Posts (co-authored with Janet Faulk-Gonzales) a few years ago. This morning, I re-read my last essay in this book entitled “The Ultimate Porch:” 

“It [the porch] would be a place to which people brought peace and conversation, laughter, and their willingness to take time out. For me, the ultimate porch would also be a dual haven, in early morning hours offering me a safe place where I could sit in silence, stilling the storm of some past suffering in my mind, or expressing myself in writing, all my senses effortlessly taking in the scene around me, interrupted only by the squawk of a crow bringing me messages of affirmation.

Mostly, I’d want to bring to it my “belonging”… with friends, family, and community… where, as C.S. Lewis said, we all saw the same truth: love. Evening would be the best time for porch sitting, a time like that of an old memory at early dusk when there was just enough light to read by, and my Grandmother Nell and I sat together in a scaling, green-painted swing, reading from Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verse: “The world is so full of a number of things,/I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

In early September, we plan to venture over to LaGrange, Georgia to sit on the new porch of our friend, Mary Ann Wilson, who probably loves porches as much as I do and was laying the foundation for one when we first visited her in June. It’s a screened one overlooking a patch of Georgia woods “in the country,” she says, “a place I’ve never lived.” Every time she writes, she’s on that porch, enjoying a deserved retirement from the English Department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, her “roofed-in observation post where she can sit to get a clear view of what’s in the world outside and that allows for amiable company…”*

Moon in a Bucket
*Introduction to Porch Posts by Diane Marquart Moore and Janet-Faulk Gonzales. Illustration by Paul Schexnayder in Porch Posts.



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