Living alone has been a new experience for me. While having a space that is entirely yours to do what you want with is fantastic, sometimes the loneliness gets to you. I find myself doing more sitting around than I would have expected, and a bunch of it is done on my porch, staring into almost total darkness.
There’s a small radius of light that emanates from my kitchen, but for the most part it’s dark—just the silhouette of bushes and trees; just the constant buzzing of insects and the nearby rustling of unknown creatures. I’ve heard two unsuspecting birds get taken by foxes in the night—at least I think they were foxes, and the panicked flapping of wings and muddled squawks leads me to believe the victims were birds. But nothing is clear in the dark, and noises can be deceiving.
Yet even then, with the mysterious and ominous noises, the porch is peaceful. The air is always right and it feels completely detached from the dark just a few feet away. And even though I can’t see them, those creatures prowling through my yard don’t disrupt the calm of the porch. To hear something so close and be unable to see it should be unnerving. It should cause one to jump up and run inside or to grab a flashlight and shine it across the yard, but it doesn’t.
After all, the porch is that middle ground between home and the outside world. It’s not quite closed in, but it isn’t entirely open either. It’s just enough home to feel comfortable, but not enough to feel walled in. That’s why I go out there in the first place. When you spend too much time sitting around inside, you begin to feel anxious, the walls seem to be advancing towards you, and you start calling everyone you know to come and keep your mind occupied.
Sure, there’s the internet and video games and movies, but that’s an easy way out. And I do take it at times, but to sit and ruminate quietly as the natural noise flits and floats around you is something else. Something placid and charming even. It’s magic without the illusion: pure and genuine.
written: July 2012