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PORCH PEOPLE

Our porches have always been solace. At times they take the forms of balcony, deck, veranda, lanai, etc. But in any form they are always full of life. In Vermont, our spacious deck, fitted out with grill, tables, chairs, umbrella, etc. was a place where song birds and raptors visited, squirrels and raccoons, our llamas, ducks, chickens, cats and dog all sought company and stole food and at various times we were able to sit quietly while deer, mother bear and her cub fed from the apple tree, or a wandering moose would swagger by.

In Thailand, the house benevolent spirit in form of huge gecko watched over us and entertained nightly with its savage hunt for insects. On Koh Tao and in Kai Bae we were visited by the neighborhood dogs who took up co-existance with us for the durations of our stays…only a little food bribery occurred. A favorite was fried chicken feet. In Kai Bae, we were in close range of wild pigs and could see and hear the elephants trumpeting each morning and evening. On Koh Chang, at our workplace we had marauding macaques to contend with…only a swiftly opened umbrella would dissuade their threats and predations. At times on Koh Tao and other places large monitor lizards were about, as were dangerous dropping coconuts. At night flowing brushy upright shrubs transformed into chthonic guardians and we slept well under their care.

In Borneo, we had no porch or balcony and felt the sting of it. But we were up so high on the ridge and in the high-rise apartment that raptors and jungle birds would traverse our window sills. The stair wells of the building held a wealth of interesting moths and stick insects, while the bungalow we had in

Bali was lovely for frog-song and beautiful mantids and colorful beetles. In Bangkok our small perch of a balcony was great for watching the city’s flying foxes go mad from fireworks on the King’s Birthday.

On Kei Kecil, Indonesia, we had no porch, but a small raised cabana overlooking the beach, which was a very adequate white sand tidal flat that stretched out for over a kilometer. Here was the home of shoal upon shoal of small crabs, India Pincushion star fish and an array of living, moving shellfish, and warm crystal bath pools.

There have been other porches for us, some on the fantails of live-aboard dive boats where turtles would visit and the dawn sky amazed. On the large deck of our rooftop hotel a t the Ganesh Himal in the Tamil at Kathmandu, we were treated to morning views of the Himalaya, Black Kites circling in abundance and a view of the incredible stupa on the hill where gangs of monkeys held sway.

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In Andalusia, our porch gave us sublime views of Morocco across the straight, and of Gibraltar on clear October mornings…our resident Dachshunds ever ready for a road trip or a quick surfboard act in the pool.

Glorious Lindos afforded us a high perch looking across at the ancient acropolis with the braying of donkeys below awaiting their daily trips up the winding trail to the citadel and ruins. In the distance on the headland we

could see the Tomb of Kleobulus where wild goats ran in the lavender and oregano as we drank our tea.

Here, now on Antigua, our porches are indeed a much needed solace from our daily grind. We have our porch friends in addition to magnificent views of English Harbor, Monk’s Hill, Willoughby Bay and the incredible night sky. Our friends with whom we visit each morning are the two Lesser Antillean Bullfinches who come when called for their millet and bread crumbs. Their names are Tarus and Mythy. Our zippy little Bananaquit, who with his yellow and black is called Flash has an ongoing contested relationship with the Hummingbirds named Captain Hook, Tink, and Speedo. The seldom seen gecko is yet to be named but the dominant Anole lizard, Mister Green is there to greet us each morning. I am not going to name for you the numerous mice, cockroaches, nasty huge Frangiapanni Horn Worms, or the rat that sat on my face at 3am, but they are part of our little community on the ridge nonetheless.

These porch communities are life affirming, entertaining and sources of great solace and mindfulnesss. They have all been great in their own ways, but none compare nor can compete with the great wrap around multilevel decks and covered porch at the Grandview, our greathouse on Lake Sebec, Central Maine, USA. There we are visited by ducks, beaver, otters, raccoons, foxes, deer, bald eagles, ospreys, hawks and songbirds galore….oh yes and more hummingbirds, who follow us and chide at not having their feeders replenished and some pretty fine people too. All good, but we cannot nor will we ever forget the moose who put up the terrifying caterwauling in the deep dark of a moonlesss night under our window. We can only call her Moaning Myrtle who not only scared us silly with her demonic wails but drove our furry little housemates, the chipmunks indoors for weeks after and who made so bold as to bite our toes when not promptly fed bread crumbs.

To our porches we return in times of stress and in times of joy, always to be soothed, always to be welcomed and to welcome in return. Our porches where we live…together.