I was just settling down to write when I heard a voice on the radio say weather would be turning nasty in an hour. So I strapped on my Asics and headed out to absorb the final hour of the most perfect Midwestern autumn in memory.
A couple weeks ago we shut down the screened-in porch – always one of the saddest days of the year for me. When we built it we were advised by any number of wise contractors, real estate agents, and architects to make it a year-round porch with insulation and windows for added resale value. I resisted. My take is that those additions are too hot in summer, too cold in winter and, thus, rarely used. Plus, those well- insulated additions make me feel like I’m sitting indoors –something I can’t abide. I wanted an old-fashioned screened-in porch.
It remains the best money we’ve ever spent. If you believe, as I do, that things can absorb energy, then our porch is full of the good stuff. Friends have gathered there more times then I can count, my mother and mother-in-law (both now gone) were enjoyed and honored there on Mother’s Day and whenever it was warm enough to share a meal and their company. Giant thunderstorms surrounded us until lightning sent us running for the shelter of four solid walls. All meals, as well as evening and weekend lay -abouts, with our daughters (who were ages one and three when built) happened on the porch. When the girls brought home pet birds, I couldn’t bear to have them caged all the time. What’s the point of being a bird? So they enjoyed flying free on the porch – until the cats wanted a turn. The dogs loved it. Sparky was stretched out in her favorite spot, next to my chair, when she went to heaven.
Alex Kava came over every day to tend to Sparky for the three weeks we travelled around Europe. Our porch is where she organized her notes and began writing the first of her 14 bestselling novels, A Perfect Evil. It’s also where I wrote much of Dead Behind The Eyes .
I’m always blue when the last day of an Indian Summer forces me to face the fact that another season in the swiftly moving seasons of my life has come to an end. And so I walked, determined to seize every last moment of this beautiful day.