When summer comes, I like to move outside to my summer office. It’s the front porch of our lovely house. It faces north, so it’s always cool and shady. We’ve installed some comfortable porch furniture out there, along with a porch rug so I’m not on bare cement. We aren’t far from a pond, so I can hear red-wing blackbirds sing and mourning doves call, both birds I remember from my childhood in Wheeler.
Although the porch looks out onto the street, bushes and trees surround it, giving me a fair amount of quiet privacy. I’ve put up hanging baskets of flowers and other plants around, and also put more plants on the rail for more greenery and privacy. If I don’t move, no one even notices I’m out there. 🙂 This is my view:
When it rains, it’s even more beautiful. The porch stays perfectly dry, and I can admire the rain while I write.
When I was a child, we lived in a big farmhouse. Next to it was a small milk house for storing fresh milk in the days when the place was a working dairy farm. It was the size of a garden hut and hand a concrete-lined pit in the bottom that you filled with cold water from the nearby well. Then you put the big metal milk cans down in the water to keep the milk cool. The house was also shaded by pine and lilac trees to keep it cooler still.
My mother covered the pit over with a wooden platform and converted the milk house into a playhouse for my sister and brother and me. We played house and created fairy tales and other games of pretend in there.
And I wrote in it. I had a pile of notebook paper in a blue folder and a lap desk, and I often sat out there to write. I remember sitting out there in the rain and once even a thunderstorm with my papers and pencil. I felt adventurous and secretive and cozy all at the same time while I put those words on paper out in the little house among the trees and the rain. I don’t have the old manuscripts anymore, but I have the memories.
Sitting on the front porch to write on my laptop makes me feel like I did when I wrote in the milk house, and I like it very much.
–Steven Harper Piziks