August 3, 2000

On Location

The Front Porch

This is our fifteenth summer in our present home. We moved in on June 14, 1986.

I used to spend many pleasant hours out here, stationed just beside the front door in a padded lawnchair, feet up on the concrete siderail of the steps, and after that collapsed, up on a small bench.

The porch is in the shade for most of the day, as it faces east. For me this is good, as I never enjoyed the sun, thus demonstrating rare good sense in the face of peer pressure back in the '60's.

We have the (mostly good) fortune to live directly across from a large city park. When the boys were small I would supervise from this perch, managing to read a few lines or do a crossword puzzle or two inbetween. The swings and slides are directly in front of me, separated from the street by a four-foot high fence. Behind that is an enclosed soccer field, with organized games going on almost every evening in the summer.

Just to the right of the playground is a public pool. Right now (4 PM) the local day camps are winding up an activity day there. They've strung colourful flag banners around the pool fence. There's noise, but it's not intrusive to me.

The kids attended that day camp for several years, and I had the dubious advantage of being able to spy on them from the house; they also had the advantage of being able to whine and try to make me feel guilty if they saw me coming or going (or just sitting).

Behind the pool is the baseball field, where the kids spent much of the outdoor portion of their childhood. Younger Son played city league ball for nine years (in a variety of parks including this one); Older Son preferred to round up the neighbourhood for interminable, informal games.

I find sitting out here peaceful, because I don't feel closed in. The nearest houses that I see, other than the pool house which is well set back from the street, are about two city blocks away. Besides the sounds of children playing and the occasional car passing by, I hear a variety of birds and the wind rustling the leaves of our maple trees.

It's not always quite so idyllic - the park had been known as a hangout for teens and young adults, but in recent years the police have harrassed them away. It also helped that the bulb on the streetlight had been out for the last two or three years, only replaced last week. I don't think anyone complained, preferring the darkness to the noise and minor vandalism that occurred well into the morning hours.

Most of the above was written on July 7. I decided to turn it into an experiment, and took photographs of what I was trying to describe. It might (?) be interesting to see how closely the scene I described matches the real thing, so if you want to see the photos, please click here.

It's really two snapshots aligned together as best I could, and it's an accurate depiction of the vista. I suppose there's a way to do that on the computer but I haven't figured it out yet - I just scanned the two photos together.

I'd be interested in any comments or reactions!

Linque Du Jour:   Your Dictionary

Another comprehensive reference site; with word games, articles, links, specialty and technical lookups. I have a weakness for this type of page.

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