I am writing this little note to you, dear reader, al fresco.
Our old house has a rather elegantly named but less impressive-looking porte cochere … a roofed, open-sided area that extends from the side of the house over the driveway. In the winter, the stone-covered driveway area is home to a couple of cords of firewood.
In the summer, it’s where we eat.
We have a white metal table that can seat six. It has four matching chairs, with red-black-and-white-striped cushions. Depending where one sits, you can look over the white wooden porch swing hanging nearby and the neighboring masses of roses to the meadow above us, you can look across the side yard to the vegetable garden, or you can look down the drive toward the meadow and hills across the street.
You could also sit and look at the house, but that’s a chair of last resort.
Wherever you sit, there is bird song, the scent of roses, the occasional hint of manure from the nearby dairy farm, and our dog, Violet Wiggins, sprawled nearby.
It took a child to get me to take full advantage of this treat for the senses.
My habit has been to sit inside in the morning, as I did all winter, drink my coffee, read the news, and try not to freak out.
My grandchildren were recently here, and they were absolutely delighted when we ate dinner outside. They’ve been cooped up in a suburban condo in Connecticut for much of the pandemic. Their outdoor space is limited.
“It feels good to be out,” my son, their father, explained. “It feels good to be anywhere new.”
The two-year-old was up early the next day, and joined me in the kitchen as we fed the animals. We discussed her breakfast, and she pointed toward the door.
“Can we eat outside?” she asked.
“Of course we can,” I said. The morning was sunny and clear. A perfect summer day was ahead.
Since they’ve left, my own routine has switched. Now I pour my coffee, I sit in the rocker near the table, and just breathe. When I’m ready, I make breakfast. Then I bring it outside, sit at that white metal table, and enjoy this place.
Then I pick up the computer. But I look at that outside, too. It’s better there.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.