As we wind our way into summer…the early, moderate days of summer…I am always drawn outside. The days are pleasant enough to entice me from the too early air-conditioned rooms, and the nights chilled enough to occasionally allow me to relax around the fire pit, found wood crackling as the day’s work wanders away, chased by our three dogs and a bourbon, or two.
So far, the rains of the months passed have swelled the lakes, and I can hear ducks thrashing, courting and the occasional fish swirling out of a place too shallow. And there are the frogs, distant and somewhere nearer. It is a reunion of creatures, temperate and soothing: a time without compare in our yard, and I like to believe well beyond into yours as well.
Though this year compromised by untimely and incessant weather, May finds nature beginning her work upon the labors of our busy spring: lawns mowed, shrubs trimmed, earth turned…gardens sit waiting for the burst of energy and blossom, and we await the freedom of life, vacation and the pursuits of idling days and simple meals and the long and lingering gloamings ahead.
It is the ultimate time for me, independent of all else: a peace of instance and moment, good and full of heart.
PORTICO has its rush and challenge, as do all of the endeavors of our lives, the required layers of attention and business that fill days and interrupt sleep; but their rule ends for a time as the day fades its troubles, as breezes fan away complication, frustration and dismay, leaving behind just quiet, if only for a time.
During these late days of spring, protracted and expectant, I have always found that I can actually look ahead, search and plan, prepare without the distracting oppression of heat and the frivolous escape of family holiday. Without those struggles of annoyance and diversion, either with book, journal or contemplation, I can shape the calendar ahead, finding inspiration and direction in unhurried conversation and observation. We have always tried to follow the joy and genius of this place, to take that lead for the words and images in our pages, to present to you something intriguing and fascinating and perhaps surprising. In these days before summer, so much appears, emerging as do our blueberries and figs and pears, to be gathered and arranged and added to what comes ahead.
The discovery of that which is extraordinary within the most familiar and regular, of seeing beyond the lay of the land, is what we have come to expect here…not just at PORTICO, but in Mississippi. The commonness of life in this, our place, the shared and mutual among and between, is our astonishing and unexpected gift. It is constant and amazing and lasting, an exuberant twilight, incomparable and only rare in its remarkable and perennial bloom.
On May 4, there was a disturbance in The Force. Our sweet Sweeney, happy and hopeful and rambunctious Sweeney, died at home, after fourteen years leading our walks and patrolling our yard and keeping us amused and warm and in place. He was a wandering dog from the neighborhood with an inattentive owner, and he adopted us. He just came in, as they do, and never let us go. He holds us still.