Soak It Up

June 28, 2014 by Ellen Stimson in Living With Intention, Summertime

photoA soft breeze blows through the windows and the wide open front doors. I can feel it on my arms and the back of my neck. Nature is grinning at us on this sunshiny Saturday.  There are birds tweeting once in a while and the porch swing just barely moves. Flowers are in bloom all over the place. The last of the peonies, the first of the lavender, and now the tiger lilies are just about ready. Our baby boy graduated from high school and a fresh summer is upon us as we celebrate another trip around the sun. 

But first I have a fast run of business overload before we get to summer for real and our annual getaway on the island. I squandered a perfectly good morning worrying about getting to a Boston client Monday and Tuesday, plus maybe Providence, and then back to Vermont Tuesday night in time for our island ferry reservation 6 AM Weds. There is no simple way. We have to load two cars with bedding, pots and pans, dogs and boys. I frustrated myself for too long trying to figure out the logistics and giving in to a helpless kind of overwhelmed feeling. But then I remembered about the balcony.

We have a little balcony outside our second floor office. It hovers over the front porch and has the best views of the Taconic Ridge just about a mile away. The scent coming from big pots of jasmine wafts around and you can watch the hummingbirds play in the wisteria. The balcony is about ten by twenty-five feet long and about a third of that is taken up by an old reliable hot tub. The other end has a bunch of big plants with little twinkly white lights strung through them and flowers. There is not a lot of room left over. But in the middle are two iron chaise lounges with a table settled in between. The  lounges are outfitted with cushy vanilla coloured  pillows and there is a wrought iron towel rack behind them with thick towels near the hot tub.

When we bought this house and those chaises I imagined long sunny afternoons with Hannah polishing our toenails and reading silly magazines together. That all came true. Then she grew up, graduated from college and moved to Martha’s Vineyard. What I didn’t envision was what might come next up there. Now with Eli at one summer event after another saying goodbye to high school friends  John and I often have the whole place to ourselves.  We can take off all our clothes if we want, smear on coconut oil and head for the balcony. The sun slows everything down. Even the worrying over business and  logistics. We carry out fat novels, drink coconut water and talk lazily about grilling or maybe a movie later. We figure we’ll have a big steak salad, with red onions and tiny new potatoes drizzled with the good balsamic and sprinkled with a little Stilton, for supper. If Eli is here his idea of a casual supper does not include salad so maybe we will make BLTs with good thick bacon, giant leafy basil and lemon drenched homemade mayo. 

I am remembering my own advice. We are all gonna be dead a long time. Worrying when there is this radiant day happening is an enormous waste and I am done with it. Soon there will be seagulls after all. Breathe. In and out. It’s summer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


  • Tricia

    Sigh! Paradise, indeed. Sounds like you’re getting a taste of ’empty nest’. (Delicious, isn’t it?!)
    Lovely piece.

  • Lynn Silence

    St. Louis has done its usual spring/summer season–two hours of spring and the rest temperatures in the 90s with humidity in the 90s Your front porch swing is fabulous for reading and watching the world go by. As Paula Deen says, “If you wake up on the right side of the dirt, you are ahead of the game.”

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