Over the winter months, the back porch becomes a place where we throw things we don’t know what to do with: old magazines, empty glass jars, dead plants, malfunctioning household appliances, recycling, boxes, papers, broken dishes. Or it serves as a temporary refrigerator or freezer— perfect for the overflow of food for winter parties.
Looking out over our urban garden is so renewing and expansive, that we have often discussed that we ought to get a heater for the back porch so that we can use the back porch all year long. Somehow we have never gotten around to it. The windows, which go all around the porch, are not well-sealed and it would take a very concerted effort (and quite a bit of money) to make it weather-proof. However, deep inside, we must realize that this seasonal transition to the back porch is more sacred and meaningful as an annual passage and process.
So with our music on shuffle and blasting away (from Jimi Hendrix’s “Hear my train a-comin'” to Cecelia Bartoli singing Mozart’s “La Ci Darem La Mano”) and seduced by the incredible aromas of JB’s Eight Bean Soup wafting from the kitchen, we tossed, organized, recycled, arranged, swept, mopped, wiped, and polished.
When the spring comes, like today at 62 degrees (we even heard and saw an ice cream truck on our block last night!), cleaning out the detritus of our wintry closeted lives opens us up to all the warm possibilities before us. It’s a physical way to thaw our cores and sensibilities and make sure we take nothing for granted.
JB’s scrumptious Eight-Bean Soup was our first meal on the porch. The recipe is below.