Temperatures during the day had gotten up into the mid 80s, but as the sun slides down behind English Mountain across the valley from us the temperature eases. The sky splashed with pink, rose, mauve and vermilion slowly deepens into amethyst, violet and plum. A few bright stars burn through the gauzy haze of high, thin clouds which provide a canvass for the setting sun to paint upon.
To the south the multiple ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains slowly disappear into the dusk. A Chuck Wills Widow sits in the top of a tree across the hard-road, a hundred feet or so downhill from us, and serenades us with his gentle melody. Crickets chirp, cicadas thrum, tree frogs trill.
A flying beetle thumps determinedly against the glass of the porch light. It looks like a June bug, but it’s the wrong time for June bugs, unless he’s a confused June bug. I switch the light off to save him from endangering his well being (and annoying us) and so we can get a clearer view now that the sky is dark.
It occurs to me that too many people have lost the art of porch settin’. Many newer homes have no porch to sit on – just a sort of stoop. I suppose one could sit on the step of the stoop, but that’s not the same. So they seal themselves inside with their air conditioning and televisions and miss the best show around.
A proper porch is a comfortable refuge even in a light rain; though we have no rain tonight. No, tonight is a perfect porch settn’ night. Warm enough that an icy glass of lemonade is refreshing, cool enough to be comfortable, a light breeze to keep the gnats and skeeters away, and a Utopian peacefulness to the sounds of the evening.
When the wind blows the right direction, the singing tires of 18-wheelers on Interstate 40 will traverse the 4 miles separating them from us and invade the natural sounds we enjoy so much more. But that is not the case tonight; tonight we could be a thousand miles away from anyone.
We sit in our new folding wooden porch chairs. Building a pair of hickory rocking chairs for the porch has been on my To Do list for quite a while – and I’m getting closer to that, but not fast enough – so Marie bought a pair of wooden porch chairs that fold up. These can easily be moved out of the way if we need more room or when we’re cleaning the porch. The folding chairs really do make more sense for us than rockers anyway; our porch is not a sweeping veranda, just a cozy spot for the two of us to enjoy our view. I guess I can scratch those rockers off the To Do list.
Drowsiness eventually overtakes us and we go inside to get ready for bed. It’s been a long hard day and this respite was the perfect prelude to a restful night of sleep. Just one of the many reasons we enjoy living here in the mountains. It’s a great place for porch settin’.