Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hodgepodge 343/365 - The Porches

In 2014, David headed to Maryland for a year of top-secret work in cryptography, leaving me home to take care of Milo. It was the first time I had ever lived by myself. I enjoyed the experience, though of course there was constant contact with David: it's not like I was really alone. And I knew he'd be coming back. I also took the opportunity of having a place to stay back East and flew out for a couple of extended visits. As part of one, that September, I took the train down to Richmond, where my old UC Berkeley I House roommate, Jenny, picked me up, and off we drove to the tiny town of Norwood and the Porches writing retreat, run by Trudy Dean Hale in an 1856 farmhouse. I'd heard about the Porches from a writer friend, Mel Walsh Jones: she is lucky enough to live not far from Norwood and takes herself to the Porches with some regularity. Her descriptions and photos mesmerized me, and I knew a few days there would give Jenny and me a good chance for some work and some catching up.

We spent six days at the Porches, working in the mornings (we were the only guests until the end, and I was able to enforce a "no talking" rule during that time), then at about three we'd knock off and head out for long walks 'n' talks.

It was perfect.

I wrote some haiku while I was there. Here are a few:

James River, dusk falls—
I sit: squeak of wicker, burr
of insect voices.

No rules.
Only to breathe,
as raindrops nudge the world alive.

Old house creaks to life
fog shrouds the river bottom
monarch teeters by.

ruby-throats have fled
stink beetles repose, feet up:
first day of autumn

And here are some photos. I'd love to go back.

The Porches

Second-floor porch (photo by Donna Migliaccio)

Second-floor bathroom: I loved the floor
The garden is full of lovely little details

An old lamp in the downstairs sitting room
Little lanterns to make evening time sparkle
Fabulous little knickknacks everywhere
A country road
The James River: The Porches is the house farthest on the right

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