Front porch thinkin…

It’s been way too many Saturday mornings since I followed through on my longing for quiet time on my front porch. I’d think, “After I sweep and clean off the patio table and chairs, I’ll go out for a bit and watch the birds.”

Then my excuses were that it’s too wet, or that too many neighbors were working in their yards and I needed quiet thinkin time, not neighborly chit chat time.

Right now Moose is at the edge of the porch, enjoying the sounds and scents of birds building new nests. Cataracts prevent him from bolting across the street to chase a squirrel. They hafta be real close these days before Moose realizes he needs to help a long-tailed critter find a tree in somebody else’s yard.

Principi is banging on the window inside, terribly upset to be missing the party. We know what she does to birds, though.

In the last two weeks. my next door neighbor has said “so long” to 3 fledgling robins whose mom and dad built a nest on Kay’s porch. Typically, robins are good for at least a couple of nests. We hope they come back to Kay’s porch. It was so much fun to sit inside, looking out her french doors, watching mom and dad fuss over their babies.

I haven’t seen mom and dad robin this morning. Right now a pair of blue jays seem to be dominating the airspace above my street. They look to be gathering materials for a nest somewhere.

Until recently, I thought I was odd — enjoying watching and getting to know each bird in my neighborhood. Year after year, we recognize some of the same families.

A few weeks ago my folks were entertaining a local friend, and an out-of-town guest. She has lived in Seattle for a long time, and is originally from Chicago. As my dad flipped burgers outside, Kathy was mesmerized by the handful of hummingbirds feeding a few yards from the grill. They didn’t care that we were outside. From the breakfast nook window, though, they came so close to our faces that sometimes we’d instinctively flinch.

Kathy talked about her life in Seattle and said she longed for four seasons. She’d never seen hummingbirds up so close. I think watching them be still was as fascinating for her as watching their wings buzz a zillion times a second.

During her visit, she went hiking at Devil’s Den, found a place to go two-steppin, and found a place to call home.

What enticed her? The job offer, the salary, the need for a change, or maybe a chance to idly sit on a back deck or front porch and greet the same birds year after year, to share the joy and sadness of fledglings leaving the nest, and to relish the transformation of her place each spring, summer, autumn, and winter?

Place is more than about money. Opportunity is more than about professional advancement.

For the past several months, I’ve walked right past the opportunity between my front steps and the threshold into my house.

Opportunity and perspective await me right here on my front porch. In order to seize that opportunity, my only requirement is that I be still, and listen.

May you also make time to sit and listen from your favorite perch.

Now playing: Michael BubléHome

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