Posted tagged ‘backyards’

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”

August 6, 2015

I think I know what heaven may be like. It’s a deck high up in the trees. Birds fly in and out of feeders filled with sunflower seeds and hanging from branches. The round glass table is in the shade. A red fountain constantly flows and sounds like a brook with water cascading over rocks. Birds stand under the flowing water as if it were a shower then shake their feathers dry. Other birds stop and take a drink. The humidity is a memory and there is a cooling breeze. Pinwheels stuck in flower pots spin and spin in the breeze, and their colors run together in whirls of red and blue. The only sounds are birds, chattering red spawns and a few planes flying overhead almost close enough to brush the tree tops as they make their way to Logan. Welcome to my deck.

The neighbors across the street seldom venture out of their house. They used to weed the front, but when they replaced the ground cover with mulch, they don’t have to weed at all so I don’t see them much anymore. They were city people so locks and closed windows keep them safe. I never see the front door opened to the screen. If I have to go over, I hear my neighbor ask who it is then I hear her unlock several door locks. Her husband has Alzheimer’s but always waves and says hello to me. Once he thought he was locked out of the house and came here for help so I think he still remembers me.

My street is on its second generation of kids. The first generation has kids of its own. Four houses still have original owners, mine included. We have all improved our houses with backyard decks, patios and, in one case, a swimming pool. We sit in those backyards and take joy from the quiet. I read or listen to music. I leave my phone inside. I sometimes hear it ring but I don’t care to answer caught up as I am with the deck, the day and the beauty around me.

“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.”

May 2, 2014

The sun is breaking through the clouds. Today will be spring.

This shoulder season is my least favorite time of year. Of late, I have been tired and bored. The cold and the rain have made exploring less inviting. Afternoon naps while away the time but make me no less lazy. A few errands force me out of the house, and even though I complain, I am grateful for the change. Today is one of those days.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have decks or porches or patios. We just had backyards, unfenced expanses of grass dotted with clothes lines close to each house. The little kids mostly stayed in those yards. My sisters sat on the back-steps right outside the door and played with their dolls. My mother could hear and see them, but she never really worried. They wouldn’t stray and the whole neighborhood kept an eye. We older kids would never be caught playing in the backyard during the daylight. We had the freedom of bikes. My mother would do her parental duty and ask where we were going. We seldom had an answer as we seldom had a destination. “Just around,” was our usual reply, and that was exactly where we went. We never had any money, not even the wealth of a dime or a quarter. Sometimes we made lunch, mostly a sandwich and some Oreos, and we’d stop somewhere to eat at no given time just when we got hungry. If something caught our eyes, we’d investigate. We’d stop, use the kickstand on our bikes and walk to see what was around. Sometimes we’d ride uptown, walk our bikes on the sidewalk and look at store windows. My favorite window was at the fish market. A tank took up most of the window and lobsters took up most of the tank. We’d stop at the Woolworth’s window and Kennedy’s Cheese and Butter Store where barrels sat out front and the window had chunks of cheese which was foreign to us. My mother never bought cheese in chunks. We’d usually end our uptown tour there and head down the street pass the fire station, the town hall, our school and church and the convent. By then it was late afternoon, and during this time of year it was getting cooler as the sun set. We’d get home, maneuver our bikes down the stairs into the cellar and go up stairs to watch a bit of TV until my mother had dinner ready. I remember lots of westerns and hot dogs, beans and brown bread.

The fireflies o’er the meadow In pulses come and go.”

July 14, 2012

A dead mouse was on the floor in the hall today. I think Maddie did the honors. I tossed it outside. Dead mice don’t bother me. It’s the half-alive ones I hate.

The day has humidity almost thick enough to see. The sky is cloudy. Nothing is moving. Even sounds seem muted. My house is dark. I needed a light on to read the papers, but once I finished, I turned it off. A dark house feels cooler or at least gives the illusion of being cooler. I suspect the AC will get a work-out a bit later.

Gracie woke me up at five by ringing her bells to go out. I went downstairs and opened the door then went back to bed. I didn’t go to sleep as I was waiting for Gracie to come back inside. I know she’d can’t get out of the yard, but I still worry. Finally, after what seemed like a long time, I went downstairs and onto the deck to call her. She didn’t come, and I couldn’t hear her. I called a couple of more times, and then I heard her collar way in the back of the yard. The shadows had hidden her. I called again and offered a treat. She came running. We both went back to sleep.

It’s deck movie night. We’ll have a couple of appetizers and then chicken and a salad for dinner. I haven’t figured out dessert yet, but I do know I’m buying malted milk balls. They all disappeared last week. We’re seeing Night of the Hunter this week.

We never had a Saturday matinée in the summer. That was winter entertainment. The summer was spent outside even when it rained. The idea of staying inside the house never occurred to us. Every summer day meant fun and adventure and playing games like hide and seek, statues or red rover. Our grassy backyard with the big hill was usually filled with kids. It was always noisy in the summer. Kids were laughing and shouting at one another, and mothers were calling out from the screened doors announcing lunch or dinner or time to come inside. Sometimes we’d get to eat lunch outside. It was always a sandwich. Dinner was at the kitchen table. Even if the meat was barbecued, we’d eat inside. Every summer day bedtime came all too soon, once the day had given way to night.

I think my favorite time of day back then was when the fireflies came out. They’d flit all over the backyards and the fields. I’d follow one with my eyes until I’d lose it among all the others. It was always amazing.

I still love fireflies, and I still watch one until it disappears. It is still amazing.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

June 28, 2012

There is something wonderful about summer mornings. The house still has a nighttime cool, the birds are singing to welcome the new day and the lawn’s grass blades glint in the sunlight their tips still dewy damp. I love to walk across that cool, wet grass with bare feet when I go to collect the papers. I leave footprints on the driveway.

This room is in the back of the house and is always cooler and darker in the mornings. The sun rises at the front of my house, stays on the backdoor side all afternoon then wends its way to shine on the deck before setting. My yard is natural with plenty of trees and weeds which get their comeuppance a couple of times a summer. I planted a dogwood over where Shauna is buried and two fir trees over my Siamese kitties. Poor Maggie still needs a tree which I’ll plant this fall. Those animals lives enriched mine so much that I want them commemorated and something growing seems perfect.

Gracie woke me up early this morning and I was not happy. She jumped from the bed to the floor, started scratching at the mattress and whining in my face so I’d wake up. I did and came downstairs and opened the backdoor so Gracie could go out her dog door. She didn’t. She followed me back upstairs, jumped on the bed and fell asleep after a giant sigh of comfort. I wanted to break at least one paw. She fell back to sleep. I didn’t. Right now she’s out napping on the lounge on the deck. Life is tough if you’re Gracie.

I went to my first Wednesday play last night, and it was wonderful. 1776 was the play, and I think the men’s voices were the best they’ve had in a long while. The crowd gave them a standing oration, something I don’t remember seeing at that playhouse before this. Tomorrow night is my second Friday play; it’s As Bees in Honey Drown which I knew nothing about until I read the review, an excellent one so I’m looking forward to the play. So far I’ve seen only two movies this summer: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. Both were at the Cape Playhouse Cinema which presents movies not shown in the usual theaters. This time of year I only go to movie theaters on beautiful sunny days. On rainy days there are few parking spots and fewer seats. Even the Cape Cinema fills though its audience is older than those at the regular theaters. Sometimes when I go there I feel young in comparison.

Today is an agenda less day. They are my favorites of all no matter what time of year.

“All the Venables sat at Sunday dinner”

August 22, 2010

Outside, in the damp, cool morning I was comfortable wearing a sweatshirt, and I thought the weather perfect for hot coffee. During any break from reading the papers, I watched both the usual backyard morning antics and a few new ones. The birds were constant, mostly tufted titmice, but the chickadees too came, and I noticed a second downy woodpecker. I always there was only one. The antics were performed by a couple of gray squirrels. They are building a nest  for the winter. Each, in turn, would chew off and carry away a small branch. I had followed them with my eyes as they carried the branches to the top part of the tree and was able to find their nest. One squirrel, during his turn at the branches, hung by his feet and swung back and forth until his front paws grabbed the branch and then he pulled it free and ran up the trunk of the tree. I decided to start taking pictures of their antics so I came inside to get my camera, my telephoto lens, the phone, just in case I get a call, a second newspaper and another cup of coffee. The lens and the phone got stuffed into the sweatshirt pouch, and I managed to juggle everything else. I opened the door with my elbow, stepped onto the deck and found out it was raining. I walked back inside. put away the camera, the lens and the phone then sat down to read the paper. I miss being on the deck.

I now have no plans for the day. On a rainy day the roads are filled with tourists so I’ll be content staying home. It will be like a Sunday when I was a kid, a quiet day almost like a whisper.

Saturday was the favorite day of the week: no school, Saturday morning television and a matinee at one. Friday was a big day, the end of the school week, which made getting up and going to school a bit more tolerable. Monday was, of course, the worst day, the inescapable start of the school week. Sunday was different than all the rest. It meant church clothes, mass and staying around for the family dinner. It always seemed a formal day. Today feels a bit like that.