Heart and Soul

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Porch Swing

Ten years ago this June I made a real estate deal to purchase the house of my dreams.

Ten years ago this June, everyone who knew me was sure I was buying the house of my worst nightmares…and didn’t hesitate to mention that fact…on more than one occasion.

However as time has passed, I’ve realized that the reality of my decade ago housing purchase falls somewhere in-between these two assessments. For there have been days when I’ve felt almost cursed by the challenges of renovating my one hundred and fifty five year old home. Yet for the most part, I arise every morning grateful for the life that I enjoy within this wonderful old house.

My favorite part of my home is the porch. It’s a full wrap around model that gracefully spans the front and gently encircles the side. From the first time I visited the house in 1979, it was the singular element that remained most strongly in my memory. It was also the main reason I decided to purchase the house some twenty six years later.

While I love the bead board ceiling and ornate turned spindles that define my open air living space, what really captures my heart and soul is the spectacular view. From almost any spot there is a vista of verdant grape fields, lush rolling hills, acres and acres of untouched forest land and a distant vision of Lake Erie on the horizon. Undoubtedly, a perfectly perfect vantage point.

When I purchased the property the former owners had already vacated the premises. So, once the required John Hancocks were inked, I was given legal permission to spend time on the grounds until the final closing.

Without pause, I went directly to a local outdoor store, purchased a white wicker swing and deposited it and myself on that porch for the duration. On warm summer nights I even slept there, lulled by the midnight lake breezes that kept my swing gently rocking in its cradle like motion.

Five years later the porch became even more meaningful to me as my husband and I married on its front steps. Following the ceremony, we proceeded to the wrap around side to greet our family and friends and bask in their good wishes. It was almost as if the old covered porch had been precisely made for our special day.

Yet, as so often happens, over the last few years my life has been overtaken with what has seemed like more pressing issues then whiling away summer days on a wicker porch swing. While each June I have made the effort to return my swing to its rightful place, for the last few years, it has gone greatly unused save for the occasional summer party or drop-in guest.

Then this week my grandson came to stay for a few days, and with his arrival the lure of my porch swing magically returned. This sweet child and I enjoyed his morning bottle, took afternoon naps and whiled away the evening’s twilight while rocking to and fro. And as he lovingly snuggled his head to my chest and tucked his tiny hands in mine, I remembered the reason that I fell in love with my house and its wrap around porch so many years ago.

Whenever I’m there, life is just the way I always dreamed it would be.
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