Hi everyone. It’s a sunny day (finally!) in Milan, Italy. And I have ample time today to stand on my balconies and see what’s going on out there. It’s life as usual, under a blue sky punctuated with clouds. Pollen is floating and flying everywhere. Most people are tucked into a plate of pasta, as it’s lunch hour, and I’m answering the Back Porch Challenge issued by Celi at thekitchensgarden.
Celi lives on a farm. Her life is as different as mine as a life can get. Or maybe it’s not. In the blogosphere it’s hard to tell what’s different, and what’s just a different way of seeing the very same thing. Celi is from New Zealand, but she lives in the American Midwest, fighting the good fight to run a sustainable farm. I am an American living in Italy, fighting the good fight (I hope) to raise my children with the best values both cultures have to offer.
Perhaps we both look off our porches and think about the places we’ve left. About all that distance. About all that love. About all that amazing, mysterious connective tissue that holds people together against impossible odds and miles.
Perhaps we both look at flowers and growing things and feel good because they are beautiful, no matter where they are. Perhaps we both think of all that needs doing that day. Perhaps we put it off for another five minutes or more, just to sit and look, taking the pulse of the hours that pass.
Celi has readers from all over the world — if you read her blog, you’ll understand why. And she’s asked us to share our views from our Back Porches with her. The places where we go to sit and ponder the world “out there.”
I don’t really have a real back porch. I just have two balconies sticking off the front. Often when I’m standing there looking out, over, up and down, I see other people doing exactly the same. Sometimes they hide behind curtains. Sometimes they stand, peeled down to their underwear, feeling invisible. Sometimes they call loudly to people across the street or enter into arguments that are taking place curbside. Sometimes, often, my most meaningful exchanges are with the sky and the clouds and passing airplanes. “Where have you been today?” I ask. “And where are you going?” And the answer is always accompanied by a mischievous shrug of the shoulders: “Wouldn’t you like to know.” Yes, I would. I really would.