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Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Northerners Don't Understand About Porch Swings

When I lived in Minnesota, I didn't know anyone who had a porch swing.

I did know a few lucky people who had screened in porches.

But, nobody with a porch swing.

I suppose it could be because being outdoors in Minnesota is not always the most pleasant undertaking. One time of the year it is because of the snow and ice and the rest of the year it is because of......mosquitoes.

I did know a few lucky people who had screened in porches, and a few people that had wooden free standing swings out in their yards. My parents actually got one of those when I was in high school.

But, the northern version of these outdoor, grown up, swings were big chunky, log type structures.  Very at home in the woods and lakes of Minnesota.  In theory, they are a fantastic idea.

But, here, in the south, they have porch swings.

Smaller, delicate grown up swings, that hang from chains.....not logs.

Honestly, I remember seeing porch swings in movies and t.v. shows, like The Andy Griffith show, and having romantic visions of sitting out there with a sweetheart, holding hands, exchanging a few smooches.  Maybe even receiving a wedding proposal while swinging....he would drop down to one knee in front of me........

My mind was equally divided between thinking having a porch swing would be magical.....and, how unrealistic it was for people to actually sit on their porches in the spring and summer time....drinking mint juleps, or whatever unrealistic southern people drink.  (For the record, I have now learned that they would be drinking sweet tea or Coke....not mint juleps.)


Ridiculous, even.

Again, I plead mosquitoes.  If you have never lived in Minnesota, you don't understand.  The thought of sitting on my porch swing with that special buzz in my ears and slapping my shiny skin, that smells like Off, didn't sound appealing.

The idea, however, of  having a porch swing was magical.

But, I thought it was a kind of T.V. magic......unrealistic.  You know the kind of T.V. magic, where people don't lock their doors and nobody wakes up with morning breath, smudged mascara, creases in their face, or crazy unibomber hair.

Yes, unrealistic T.V. magic.

A pipe dream.

When we first moved to Georgia, we had a pool.  We even had a screened in porch. But, no porch swing.

At our new house, we have NO pool, but we do have a porch swing.

When we made the offer for the house, I actually asked for it to be included in the sale of the house.   They agreed.

Let me tell you, what I have discovered at our new house.

I was right.

Porch swings are magical.

T.V. magic is sometimes.....real.

Porch swings are wonderful and peaceful.

I love it.

I sneak out there when I need a moment away from the chaos inside our home.

I sit out there, balance my coffee on the porch railing, and read a book.

I watch the deer across the street.

I feel the breeze blow.

I watch the squirrels chase each other.

Sometimes, I just......swing.  I don't do anything.  I don't think deep thoughts.  I just....swing.

I have to admit that most of the time, I prefer to sit alone on the swing because then I can control the speed and frequency of the actual swinging (goodbye romantic notions of my teen years).

I will be sitting on the swing and eventually, a kid or two will find me and plop down in the chairs we have out there, and just chat with me.....if more than 2 kids show up, I scootch over and share the swing.

I love it....even if my initial reason for being on the porch was to sneak away from chaos.

When my mother-in-law was staying with us recently (recovering from falling and breaking her pelvis)....our porch was just one small step down, so she could come sit and get some fresh air everyday.

Life just slowed down.

We just sat.

Sometimes we talked.

Sometimes we would just sit and wait/hope for the leaves to move so we could feel the breeze.

D-man sits out there with J-girl.  They face each other and chat, one leg under them and one leg dangling over the edge, slowly pushing the swing.

L-girl now uses it to get away for some quiet reading time.

When this little guy was visiting us.....

I took him out the porch swing and sat with him.....just sat......he took turns looking at the leaves and looking into my face to make sure I was an okay person for him to trust....while I just slowly swung back and forth assuring him that I loved him and he was safe.....until he believed me and snuggled in and fell asleep.

Magical, I tell you.

We are getting to the point, weather-wise, that it is hard to sit outside....even in the shade......during the daytime hours.

But, I have discovered I like to sit out there as the sun is setting and watch the lightning bugs flashing in the yard.....sometimes that is peaceful and other times it is chaotic, because my littles are scurrying around trying to catch the lightning bugs to use as nightlights in their bedrooms.  Either way.....I am happy.

I have learned that the south might have bigger, scarier looking bugs than Minnesota.  But, the mosquitoes here are NOTHING compared to Minnesota.  I have never had the feeling  that I was being eaten alive like I did in Minnesota.

So, we sit out there at dusk.

We sit out there at night.

We sit out there in the morning.

In the fall and winter, I will once again, sit out there during normal business hours. Emoji

Last winter, I  just took a little lap blanket and a cup of tea - sort of like a little old lady - I know.  But, it was cozy and relaxing.

It just slows down my life.

I fit on it sideways, so I can lounge with my feet up and watch the trees.  I need a pillow to do that for long periods of time though....the chain sort of digs into my back.

I have made one small change to make me love my porch swing even more....

I just need some cute and comfy pillows and it will be just about perfect.

The magic is real.

Northerners can't possibly understand how magical having a good, old fashioned, porch swing can be.

Honestly, they can't.

There are just too many mosquitoes up there.