Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Fever and Sunday Ads

It's a little chilly for late March here in the near desert.  Still, today's paper was brimming full of ads, and many of them were advertising garden furniture.  I'll admit it; I sat and drooled for a few minutes, dreaming of comfortable padded chairs with matching ottomans and small tables designed to hold glasses of iced tea while one sits on the front porch and watches the leaves sway in the breeze.  Except, the advertisements have nothing to do with front porches.  This is patio furniture they are selling, or deck seating.  It seems America loves to decorate outdoors as much as we love to decorate indoors, but it is back yards that call us.

I love my front porch.  It is the perfect place to sit and have a mug of tea on a cool spring evening, or fresh fruit on a hot summer morning (before the temperature climbs to 110 degrees and we hide inside until darkness begins to fall.  In the afternoon the porch is bathed in glorious golden sunlight; at sunset we watch the deepening blue of the sky and delight in seeing the crescent moon beyond the tree tops.

I suppose I get spring fever just like most everyone else.  I want to be outside, and my porch is one of my favorite hang outs.  I must admit that sitting on a cushioned chair sounds lovely, especially with my feet up on an ottoman.  I do have a small table out there, but I'd have to move a succulent to find a place for a glass of iced tea.

I looked at the ads, and thought about all of the things the stores were selling, all designed to make me think that what I have isn't good enough, or that I could create a space for "outdoor living."  After all, my faded, sun worn folding chairs don't make my front porch look like an outdoor living room.  It looks like a porch.  The old rocking chair, with its peeling paint and faded cushion, is past the point of shabby chic.

This is reality, however.  New stuff requires raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, and transport.  It gets old and faded soon enough.  Certainly, there is furniture out there that is locally made from sustainable materials, but that isn't what the big boxes are peddling.

I swept the porch, took down the pine cones, and rearranged the chairs.  That's all it gets for now, unless I find something I can repurpose.  I do have a big rolling metal cart/shelf thing that might look nice holding plants on the porch.  But I'm not buying a single thing for the porch.  You can't buy porch culture; you can only live it.

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