Knowing What’s Good

“The air conditioner killed it. We sat on the porch as the sun went down, and watched as the dust and sunlight mingled in the bamboo grove across the dirt road. We heard the cathedral bell ring out its six o’clock message, and listened to ice clinking against the side of a glass. We could smell the musty mildew, the slightest hint of fragrance from the sweet olive next door. …

“Who can we sit and talk with now, on the porch? Our new house, with its four inch concrete slab, has no porch. … We build porches now, but not as high and wide, because we know we won’t sit on them. Or if we do, we’ll sit alone, with a cup of coffee that will never be as good as the one my father woke me up with every morning.

“Why did we wait so late to find out how common, how simple our wants?”

— Joe Riehl in the introduction to Porch People, book by Marilynn Fournet Adams. 

In news that is seemingly unrelated but not really, the federal government has just overturned the Florida state environmental protection agency’s denial of a permit to a property owner seeking to drill for oil in the Everglades. Read the story here.

We have the choice every day to recognize what’s real and true. And act, via the steady stream of our everyday choices, to protect it. Or, if it’s gone, to bring it back. But some things once gone aren’t so easy to bring back. Porch culture is a maybe.

The Everglades, not so easy.