Last night’s humble dinner, just the preamble.


We have a wonderful back porch that is not heated. This means that sometime, late in the fall, the weather gets a bit too cold and we abandon the porch until the following spring when temperatures get warm enough. From the back porch we have a terrific view of our urban backyard layered with twenty-five years of compost-making and landscape decisions, creative gardening and rich stories about those plantings. We can watch the birds (with bird book at the ready) and other stray animals; we can watch the maturing of the flora and the declination of the sunsets (earth turns). Yesterday was the first meal we had on the porch since the late late fall of 2013.

My husband and I have often discussed whether we should get the porch winterized so that we can sit here all winter long as well. The house is old and the foundation a bit tilted. The windows are not airtight. One is even cracked. We have many other needed repairs which have taken priority over the years over the winterizing of the back porch.

Each winter the back porch becomes a kind of gathering of odds and ends of those cold months: clothes and books to be donated, items we want to forward to friends or family, things that are going out to the garage or the garbage, empty glass jars we will use for dry herbs that we will harvest and dry. In the cold months, the back porch is simply a passage from the icy outside to the cozy inside. Many things we don’t know what to do with just get tossed there. In the spring, we have to make commitments about those items of winter’s indecisions.

That was yesterday’s project: the detritus moving on and other items organized for supporting summer.  Swept. Mopped. Polished. There is always something almost sacred about the opening of the back porch. If we had the experience all year, it would not seem as sweet. There is a feeling of liberation, being released from the dining table in the innards of the house into the full view of the external, a coming out, if you will. The back porch being reopened is our annual celebration of moving from darkness to light, from inside to out, from the domestic to the reconnecting to nature. Last night’s humble dinner (pictured above) was just the preamble.

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