I have taken to my porch. I hardly go anywhere else this summer. But friends come and sit there with me, and we visit for hours and watch the world go by. They usually bring a snack and a drink, and sometimes they’ll try something I’ve made, although a few won’t touch anything I offer. That’s OK. We are all afraid of the invisible threat.

It’s a perfect place to read or write. Or just sit. One day the girl across the street serenaded me with her violin. People strolling by or walking their dogs stop and linger in my yard and chat. I watch hummingbirds and bees hovering around the flowers, and chickadees and finches at the feeder. Monarch butterflies float around, and if I venture off the porch I can walk over to the house next door to keep track of the caterpillars chewing on milkweed and the chrysalises hanging from the building.

There are flower beds in front of the porch. This summer I’ve spent more time than ever tending them, and they look beautiful. I put on music inside the house, turn up the volume, and weed and dig in the dirt to the strains of a Mozart sonata coming through the windows. What could be better?

Of course, amid all the laughter and good times, we always turn to the issues that have forced us to be on my front porch instead of being out and about. We know that the coronavirus will be with us for a long time. We hope that the coming election will ensure better leadership. But so many things are unknown, and we are worried. I don’t know when if ever I’ll be with some of my family again. I’ve entered the ninth decade of my life and I have no idea if I will see the other side of this catastrophe.

The days are getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air. We’ll have to bundle up in blankets soon if we want to keep on sitting outside. Meanwhile I’m storing up the warmth and companionship of the time I’ve spent on my porch this summer, anticipating the quiet of the long cold winter.

8 thoughts on “My Porch in the Time of Coronavirus by Eleanor Sweeney

  1. Eleanor, congratulations on your ninth decade! It sounds like you had a good summer on your porch with laughter, birds, bees, butterflies, and caterpillars, and writing, which are all good ways of dealing with coronavirus. Slowing down to observe nature is therapeutic, which I did a lot of this summer, also in my garden and walking. I enjoyed reading your essay and could picture you on your porch. I also hope for better leadership, a vaccine, more decades for you to live, and for you to see your family again. I love your last sentence. Keep writing. If you don’t have a bird feeder, ask someone to pick up one for you along with some seeds. Have them place it so you can look out the window and write about the birds. I wrote some good poems this way. Take care.

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  2. Poignant and the author depicts the porch area clearly. As an octogenarian myself, I appreciate the need for social contact and appreciate how the author managed to attain that goal with minimal health risks. I trust she will look to zoom get togethers or other contactless means to be social when the weather no longer fosters porch sitting. Be well and be safe and happy porch times.

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  3. Hi Cousin Eleanor – You so perfectly captured the strange contradictions of this moment in time. We are more used to your mode of artistic expression being your beautiful photography. Writing is perhaps a new adventure for you? Please keep engaging in it! We wish we could have visited this summer and experienced your wonderful porch in person. Enjoy every moment out there.
    We miss you!! Robin and Dave

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