Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the Porch

  The sky was dark as he pulled in from mowing.  I had just finished hauling a wheelbarrow of dirt over to the porch so I could pot up plants first thing in the morning.  The kids were inside watching a movie.

 He stepped up the walk and lazed onto the porch swing.  He mentioned that the shirt I had on reminded him of his grandmother.  She had a day coat of similar color and pattern.  I suppose it is funny to think so, but I took it as a compliment: his grandmother was one of his dearest friends, and I was glad to have brought back a happy thought for him.
  He teased me about something I was doing as I balanced a little plant and placed it in line with the others.  His voice was tired and his eyes looked weary even in the dimness of the porch light, but he sounded relaxed.  With the many fields of hay still standing, waiting to be turned into winter's store of feed, I knew relaxation was not easy.
  A toad hopped out from a corner of the porch, and the cat eyed it.  The dog then checked her with a threatening movement of his paw; she fled into the darkness.
  It was quiet.  No kids fighting or vying for our attention.  No messes being made.  No questions.  Only night sounds singing a quiet background chorus to our conversation on the porch.
  I heard about the plans for the hay fields, the chicken coop door, the garden crops.  He talked about that piece of farm machinery he dreams of owning.  I mentioned something I found interesting in an article I had read, and the possibility of raising pigs this summer was glossed over.  We avoided any kind of tedious subjects: politics, children's behavior, frustrations of the day.  It was a light moment, enjoyable conversation: bantering flirtation mixed with amiable discourse, a fine art well worth keeping in tune. That moment on the porch was a special, almost mischievous delight, like cotton candy at the end of the night at the county fair.  Nothing heavy was allowed at this unexpected rendezvous.
  It ended too soon.  Mosquitoes threatened to welt us and the raised voice of a child inside reminded us where we were needed.
  But it had happened, that meeting of hearts.  I hear so often from friends of their "date nights," and a touch of jealousy sometimes plagues me. With farming, it seems that going off on a date as a couple is not only impossible, it might prove ugly.  The few times we had made a special point of it, expectations had been dashed, frustrations had stirred, and a general question of "Why is this supposed to be fun" had clouded the moments.  We seem to enjoy each other most in these stolen moments in the days, randomly meeting up without the kids eyes always in view or understanding our hidden meanings. 
  The days are fast gone with farming.  The moments are rapidly replaced by tired yawns.  If we don't grasp the times where we can meet in these busy days, we might not notice the extra wrinkles we've grown in each others absence.  Our meetings fit in when we bump into the opportunity...but we do look for them. 
  So when I hear it, "our date night" on facebook or from friends, I try not to wonder if our life is not as good because our dates are not an escape of fancy foods in pleather-seated chairs.  Our life is different.  Our goals and habits and lifestyle demands adjustments to what is best for us...
  And perhaps someday, when the kids are grown and the tractor is parked after cranking out those necessary bales of hay, and the chickens are safely bedded, and the hog is fat and asleep, if
some night when we aren't too sleepy to step out to the car, we'll find out what that fancy feasting and night out alone is all about.

Linking up to:

 And when we get home, I'll creep up the stairs to the keyboard and log into my granny face-filled facebook account and I'll type:
  "Went on a date night with my Farmer; everything was as it was when we left,
except the porch swing was lonely."


  1. The date night thing was a recnt invention. Now we have many years for every night being a date night.

  2. We've always liked our nights out on the porch best anyway. And when we were young, that's what we mostly did for "date nights."



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