I Live Here

It’s been a fulfilling Saturday, after a very long pair of weeks. I am on my porch right now – our porch – sipping at the little cooled coffee left in mug while I listen to the neighborhood.

There’s the constant bass thrum of traffic. Some of the rumbling comes as far off as the river, some as near as the deep purr of the motorcycle that cruised down the street. Higher traffic noises make an occasional counterpoint, from the zip of semi tires on the bridge, to the broad white hum of cars pushing air as they fly from one side of the river to the other.

There’s the sound of birds – too many for someone other than an ornithologist to count. Tuneless staccato chirps, single notes, high whistles and complicated warbles doppler up and down the street from the arms of old silver maples and green ashes, and young honey locusts.

I keep being visited by ants, who seem intent on crawling up my legs while I write. Bumblebees careen through our garden, and little pale butterflies skirt the porch.

Hydrangeas, foxglove and lilies will go in the beds this weekend. For now they’re chilling on my porch with their more fortunate potted siblings.

I’ve potted and watered plants that we bought today. The buttery yellow calibrachoa and electric purple pinball gomphrena make splashes of color that match the rag rug. No tomatoes this year; they took so much water without producing much fruit last year. It was good for me to have something to fuss over last summer, but for now the tomatoes from the farmer’s market will have to do. There are precut raised bed kits at the hardware store though; maybe next year even a girl with no power tools but a cordless drill can have a vegetable garden.

My partner is here beside me, reading while I write. It’s been a busy day, with errands to run and flowers to choose on this first good day after so much cold rain and gloom. I’m doing whatever I can to make this day pass slowly. I’m doing whatever I can to rest my spirit in this moment, in this place, and allow myself hope.

I live here. Where the leaves of an ash we pay the city to keep alive, hang over the house. I live in the shadows of maples and fir trees, of flitting cardinals and fantailed mourning doves. I live where the monarchs come in the summer, and where fireflies hang in the June dusk like stars.

I love this place. And it’s mine. Not in the kind of possessive ownership of my American ancestors and their Manifest Destiny. It’s mine in how I’ve left an impression behind like a handprint, in flowers and colors, trees and perennials and bright rag rugs. For the small span of time I am here, before the tracks of me are rubbed out by time and entropy. If you were to come up the battered steps onto this porch, you would know – if not me, specifically – that someone is here.

Lives here.