Reflections on a Screened Porch

There is no secret in it. We all know that the older you get, the more you concern yourself with your security. Oh, yeah, when you’re young and wide eyed you’re invincible and you live for the moment, for now. Forget the future. But, the older you get the more you think about being transitory. If it’s not on someone’s couch for a few days, or an apartment for a few months, then its from this life into the next. Solid ground seems shaky and uncertain and you strive in fascinating ways to make sure that you will have a foothold for the last half of your life, the half that comes with a world of viable concerns. Where will I live? How will I make money? Will I be alone? Am I going to make it?

I had an interesting day. Some may say my astrological chart was out of whack. My moon sign must have pissed off my sun sign and then a couple of planets got into a fight while rising. Others may say that my blood sugar must have been low. (I have to look into that. I don’t care for sweets, never have, so I avoid them….even fruit sometimes. I like cantaloupe, but it’s just so damned expensive).

But, I was sitting here with faceless bears surrounding me. I got into this weird habit that just doesn’t work. Knit up a bunch of heads, bunch of feet, bunch of bodies. Next thing I know I have ten half done bears sitting in piles everywhere, but not GOING anywhere. It worked so much better when I was just doing each bear from start to finish. Put him in his little box, send him on his way, off to his new home. Now, they sit around like they’re in limbo. Don’t know what prompted this new process, but nah…..not working. Back to the original plan.

But, I was sitting here surrounded by unfinished bears and I felt that stress we all feel when overwhelmed. The walls were caving in. Questions about the future pushing me into areas of the mind I really REALLY didn’t want to think about…..but, we all have to at some point. If I don’t get these bears done, my career is over, my reputation soiled, my future will be…..what? The once and former homeless guy is now….homeless again?


That’s it in a nutshell.

ISt8ykjsbk1tk51000000000 I hopped on my bike and went for a ride. I went to my little white house. As usual, I peeked through the windows, imagined from the outside what it would feel like on the inside. And in a moment that is probably illegal, I stepped into the back porch, sat down and just thought for a while. I could have been trespassing, who knows. No one lives there, it’s still for sale, so I wasn’t hurting anything. I opened the creaking wooden screen door, stepped inside, and sat on the back steps and took it all in.

ISd8bqiwjrw9t51000000000The weather here in Orlando is spectacular right now. 80 during the day. 60 at night. There was a cool breeze that seamlessly helped the streaks of sunlight pierce through the heavy oaks above, handing their brightness to newly blooming hydrangeas, blossoming in screaming green against the stark blue of the shed. I closed my eyes and could hear that the sound of traffic was obsolete, and with the absence of that shrill was heard only the subtle laughter of friends joining me on this back porch, spending the cool autumn evenings playing cards and planning croquet. I could smell a pot roast slowly cooking in the kitchen, biscuits cooling on the counter. I could see Mario lazily toying with a lizard as it held on for its dear life. I could see my future. This house is my Howard’s End.

I’m notorious for fighting adversity, while holding my head up, while not being jaded, while being optimistic about life, or even about the struggle in life. It never becomes tainted with the pain that makes one bitter. I never feel that. I always feel it’s always worth it. Life is worth the struggle. The beautiful moments we have and hold and enjoy are worth the fear and panic we sometimes are confronted with. The hardships we face keep the grand experiences of joy from becoming mundane.

I want that house because I love it, but I know one day I’ll ride by on my bike and the FOR SALE sign will be gone. But, that’s ok. Because that house represents my dream. And we have to wake each day, face the pain, face the fear, face the struggle and move closer towards our dreams. Mine is of what security a home of my own would feel like one day. My dream is that one day my little white house will be a reality. So, that’s what you do. You get on with it. You make it happen, you find a way to chase your dream. And it’s gonna hurt sometimes. It’s going to scare the hell out of you. But, if I don’t hold on to that dream of this little white house, my only option is going back to nothing. If I don’t move forward, then I’m only slipping back into the hell I left behind.

And I’m not going to let that happen again.

I heard myself say as I left that screen porch, “You will never will be homeless again.”

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  1. Wonderful little house. I love the photo from inside looking out. I’m confident you’ll get there — if not that precise spot, then one remarkably similar. Betting on you and Mario all the way.

  2. Gregory – I loved reading your “Reflections”. It gave me strength, courage and hope. In 2 days I will be traveling 2000 miles in my 94 Chevy van to a “Lilac House” in Superior AZ. – I will be renting it for a year. At 68, retired, slightly disabled and with very little funds it is a bit frightening for me. My sheltie “Shoe Shine Boy” knows something is up. My ex-co-worker and friend will help me drive then return to MI by AmTrak. My apartment is practically empty. I had to purge a lot of stuff. I will be closer to my 2 daughters and grandkids who live in Phoenix just an hour and a half away. Maybe some day I will be able to buy a small house on a land contract but for now it will be nice to not have to live with so many rules that apartment complexes have. Management told me I had to get rid of my canaries. Which I sold this last weekend giving me enough money to make the trip. So say an extra prayer for me this next week. I have a lot of yarn rolled up and my crochet hook and today I started another granny square afghan to crochet on the way. You Gregory Patrick are my inspiration. We have a lot in common but I am much older. The years slip by very quickly. God Bless You!!! Hugs, Tobias…Frankenmuth MI – but not for long – soon to be Superior AZ. I have a feeling you will soon get that little white house. You and Mario sure deserve it.

  3. I second Libby’s notion. I wish I could buy you that house. I have my own home, not paid for yet, but it’s still mine. It’s the one place I can go and shut out the world when life gets too hard to deal with. I want that for you. Keep going you can do it. You have the determination and drive so you can accomplish your goal of having a home. I like the idea of trying a rent to own. People do that a lot now, it’s better for the seller and the buyer. HUGS sweetie.

  4. Thanks for that blog entry. I have a house, I spend too much time in it. When I’m not working, I am home. I go out on Tuesday evenings to knit and once on month at a library. My home is wonderful, cozy and pretty. I have a nice garden, currently suffering from the drought. I have friends and family that love me. But as I drive around all day with work, I look at all the other houses and wish that some of them were mine. Somehow I belive that I would be happier. I always dream of living in a house like my grandfather built. Thinking that I spent a lot of time there as a child and I would be happiest in a house like that. Sorry for fambling so, but I hope you get your dream house, you work so hard and deserve it. Hugs and wiggles. Deb

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