Early June is about as paradisical as North Carolina gets. There are thousands of flowers around me– probably a hundred roses that I can see from my kitchen window. The first tomatoes have just appeared in the garden. There are glossy eggplants and cool cucumbers. It’s steamy and overwhelming at midday, but gentle and ravishing at 7a.m. I often end up planning a trip to somewhere else in June, and missing a portion of this time. What bad planning I always end up telling myself.
The Ruin has reached a lovely state of maturity. The rock walls I built last summer now mark the borders of a couple of painterly and colorful beds– one filled with organic and heirloom vegetables, and one with flowering plants. I’m puttering with some antique sections of iron fencing, trying to give the Ruin a sense of enclosure. More and more my entertainments end up in the Ruin. It has an irresistable pull. A couple of weeks ago friends from Greensboro came for supper and we started there, evolving into the dining room, and finishing out the evening on the front porch. I read an article about the guy who came up with the idea for The Moth, on public radio. He had great memories of story telling on a screened porch in the south on summer evenings, and transplanted it to NYC and public radio.
I share those great memories, adults rocking in a half dozen big old oak rockers, while the children played leapfrog on the lawn and caught lightnin’ bugs (not “fireflies”– lightnin’ bugs ). I decided to rededicate my front porch to story telling. So I told my dinner guests to bring a story. I’m finding we’re a bit rusty in the story telling department, but I intend to work on that. You think up a great story and so will I. And next time we’re sitting somewhere in the semi-darkness of a summer evening, let’s bring it out and try it on our friends. Let’s keep all the good stories, and more importantly, the tradition of telling the stories, alive, whether we’re sitting in a roof garden in the city, beside a campfire in the forest, or in a rocker on an old front porch.