A shelter from the storm
Sorry for the late comment on this one Matt. Felt this piece, thanks. My goldendoodle, Molly, just turned 11. She's always been completely at peace getting misted with blowing rain as lightning strikes nearby. Many great memories on our back screened porch, and with people still thinking she's 5 or 6, with God's will (I don't deserve it Lord, but You know she must!), hopefully many more.
I'm one of those weird Twitter weather weirdos that has thousands of posts on a regional weather forum. I like to think Molly is the canid equivalent.
My wife doesn’t understand my love & enjoyment of our porch looking out onto our backyard & woods. Weekend mornings drinking coffee & evenings sipping bourbon. My chocolate lab chasing deer out of the yard with great joy & much barking. The incredible display of lightning bugs every summer. I miss it every winter & rejoice when I’m able to go back onto it in the spring. It is my favorite part of home.
You certainly did cover all the bases and brought great joy to our home. My wife and I almost hurt ourselves laughing when reading about your dad’s conversational mode, since we find ourselves,frequently, there. But no, it wasn’t done with us yet-there we were, on our porch having another one of those conversations, almost terminally laughing at ourselves. The old one, two.
Also, your sharing of your life with the tribe within was very moving-tears around and maybe some sobbing too.
Thank you for this piece!
This one resonates deeply! I have always wished for a wrap around porch, but my deck provides the solitude and sanctuary that I need. It is in the company of the birds and my 9.5 year old boxer by my side, where I feel at ease. Our deck overlooks a small garden space in raised beds; a labor of love each and every year. Thank you for reminding me to take the time to pause, reflect and be grateful for these spaces.
That historical hotel in Cape May is divine! Thank you for such an entertaining read - one that I so needed today!
ML, like you, I appreciate my good dog, the autumn season, a good drink (whiskey for you, tequila or gin for me, but not both together, yet I've never tried both together, and I always seek innovation so I'll now try both together), and quiet time to reflect. To be thankful and appreciate life. Enjoy the porch, Solomon, and what pleases you. Don't let fall pass you by. Don't let life pass you by.
Oh my God (not in vain) - while reading the set up for today’s post I followed the link to this one, hating to go out of order, like the OCD creative I am. Now my intermittent crying (one wave from the dogs passing the baton, then another from Bill mowing, oblivious to dying and the boys filling the man-sized hole) - you’ve flayed me. Time to go out on my own porch, but my Old Fashioned will need extra sugar and bitters, because it gives life (and the whiskey) more flavor. 💔
I've gotta hand it to you: you really know how to read the room! Took me a couple days to get to it, but it's pitch-perfect for the last few days before the autumnal equinox.
After spending too long yesterday on a garage paint job where attention to detail wasn't required, your mention of scraping, sanding, repainting/varnishing railing spindles reminded me just how much sorer my back could be right now...
Deb thanks. It is not hard to honor those that love and loved unconditionally. I have said this before and I will continue to say it until my last breath
"I have been blessed and am the luckiest man in this world"
Great read. Thanks Matt
Great read. I love me a good porch and a good dog.
Man, now I wish our house had a porch, instead of a concrete slab and some planters out front.
You find beauty and meaning in the mundane Matt, and I really appreciate that. Thanks for what you do.
I continue to be somewhat baffled by your belief in the Biblical God. Maybe it's your relative youth and the scales have not yet fallen from your eyes. Or maybe I stopped believing because I have given in too fully to reason (although I'm prepared to accept the possibility that the God I do not believe in might be stronger than my disbelief), but given your belief, the Book of Job should trouble you deeply.
It contains the most words spoken by God directly in any of the books of the Bible, and probably beats their combined word count by a factor of five or more. God goes on a tear in Job, and it ain't pretty. (The lines you quote are but a majestic and benign snippet.)
To recap, God is giving an audience to group of angels, and Satan is among them. (?!) God asks Satan where he's been. Satan says that he's been walking to and fro on the earth. God says, Did you check out my faithful servant, Job? Satan says, Yeah, saw him. So what? God says, You weren't impressed? Satan says, Why should I be? You heaped all sorts of blessings on him. Take them away, and he'll curse you. God says, Au contraire! You may go fuck with him all you want, but you cannot lay a hand on him personally. You'll see.
So what do we have here? God is essentially using Job to prove a point to Satan. Why would God feel the need to justify himself to anyone, much less Satan? And why does Job have to suffer so God can win this ego bet?
So Satan, being Satan, has all Job's crops burned down (and the servants tending them burned to death, too), his oxen and camels stolen (and the servants tending them put to the sword), and his brother's house blown down by the wind -- killing the brother and all his sons and daughters. No complaints here from God, by the way. What are the lives of scores of servants and a whole family when a wager with Satan is on the line?
Job, as you would expect, complains mightily. He doesn't specifically blame God (preserving God's bet), but he does ask why he has been singled out for such catastrophes and tragedies.
So comes now God with his boffo speech (Where were you when I laid the four corners of the earth, shut in the sea with doors, brought forth the leviathan and behemoth, etc.?), and the fun stuff you quote.
But there's a far less seemly part, that extends much longer:
God berates Job for whining:
"Gird up your loins like a man;
I will question you, and you will declare to me.
Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?
Deck yourself with majesty and dignity;
clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
Pour forth the overflowings of your anger,
and look on everyone that is proud,
and abase him.
Look on everyone that is proud,
and bring him low;
and tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them all in the dust together;
bind their faces in the world below?"
Well, gee. No, God, I can't.
So, Job being adequately cowed and Satan proven wrong, God restores all Job's wealth, by a multiple, and gives him an abundance of sons and fair daughters, and a long life, full of days.
But that's scant comfort to Job's dead brother and family and all the dead servants who were pawns in this sordid show of force.
Like a good reporter, you need to ask the follow-up questions. Next time you're on the porch, yelling at God, bring up the Job thing again. Say you got some more questions. Say Ray wants to know.
But watch out!
This is a good'un!
Yes, never take life for granted 🙏🏼
Funny you should write this now. I know it's coincidence (or is it? ) however, my wife & I just made the decision to move back home to Indiana. In looking at houses I made two stipulations: one is a seperated workshop and the other, on which I will not compromise, is a west facing porch. Going to have her read this to support my desires.
Edit to add: brings back memories of my college days living off campus, sitting on the porch with the guys beer in one hand joint in the other watching the storms roll in.
I once wrote about 2600 words about how the front porch will save the world. This article inspired me to dust it off, fix a broken link or two.
The truth is, we don't sit on enough of them, and we in turn don't build enough of them. We're too focused on building garages, with buttons to push, to ensure we are shielded from the rest of the world. I think the lack of porches in many modern homes shows our priorities. We value highways, including information super ones, more than we value a moment to wave at our neighbor, or perhaps sit next to them on a porch listening to the heavens, or sometimes. Each other.