Category Archives: View from the Porch

View from the Porch – Smoking in the Garage and Wondering Whether to Write Anything Down

Don’t even try talking to me before I’ve sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I’m out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

It’s noon, I’ve been up since 6:30 AM and I still haven’t bothered writing anything down. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of jotting something down every morning and putting it up by 8 or 9 AM. I hear practice makes perfect, even in writing. I’d settle for error free.

I never was sure how long my interest in doing this would last, but since I’m currently sitting around waiting for work and have nothing else to do, I thought I’d keep plugging along.

Mornings like this make it that much more difficult.

Luckily I have an attached two car garage I can go hang out in when things turn miserable. Over night the temperatures dropped nearly 40 degrees and the winds are howling, literally. Last night the wind was rattling the bedroom window, a first, and it’s nice to be able to go hang out in the garage for that morning coffee and smoke free of the chilling blast.

I’ve been out to the garage a few times in the last five hours or so and, nothing, there’s nothing out there. No goose noises coming from the river, no eagles, no song birds, no crows. One lone squirrel came running up to me for his morning share of peanuts and that’s been it. So what to say… I stepped out this morning and all was gray. It was cold. It was windy and not a single living thing could be seen any where…

Okay, done.

I have absolutely no confidence in anything I write. I started writing almost on a whim. When I was painting and drawing years ago I was including short sentences in both, but then one day when I was 32, I quit painting and drawing. Up to that point doing both was constant, then overnight I stopped. Except for the occasional funny quick drawing for my daughters, never did either again.

When I started fishing and exploring on a regular basis, didn’t start that till I turned 40, within a couple of years I started writing down what I was doing while out fishing and exploring. Not sure how that started. I have never taken a writing class and never showed any real interest in writing up till then. But I pretty much haven’t stopped since.

I have no clue who’s been reading this stuff, no clue if they like it, no clue if they get anything out of it. It’s just something I do. Much like I used to do the paintings and drawings. Put a bunch of stuff down on canvas and paper, hang it on the wall and there you go. I treat writing the same way.

So… I stepped out this morning and all was gray. It was cold. It was windy and not a single living thing could be seen any where…

Sounds like as good an excuse as any to go take a nap.

View from the Porch – North Star and Satellites

Don’t even try talking to me before I’ve sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I’m out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

My first trip out to the porch this morning, it was still dark. If I look up at about a 45 degree angle, the north star is directly in front of me. Since I was a kid and learned to locate the north star via the Big Dipper, I’ve been fascinated how everything in the night sky rotates around this one small spot.

A few minutes later, a satellite cruised across the sky from north to south, more or less. There are no flashing lights, that’s how you know it’s not a high cruising jet.

My next trip out to the front porch, the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. The song birds are enjoying the slightly warmer mornings. Yesterday and today the cardinals were everywhere. You hear them more than see them along with a variety of other unidentified song birds.

A couple of bald eagles came up off the river and started looping upwards. They cruised the tree line out in front of the house and disappeared back over the river. If I had come out on the porch five minutes later, rather than talking about seeing the eagles again, I’d be talking about not seeing any eagles today.

The other morning while still dark, there was a two second display from a meteor. This morning, a satellite and a couple of eagles. Last year while standing out on the porch around 10 PM, a coyote walked down the street and disappeared down into the ravine. Took all of 20 seconds. Another morning this past fall a dozen turkeys wandered down the street to pick the meat out of car crushed acorns from the old oak tree across the street. Here and gone in five minutes.

The chances of me retiring some day are looking like slim to none. But if that opportunity arises, I’ll have one room, walls all made of glass. It will be connected to the rest of the house by a narrow hallway. The time spent at home will be spent primarily in this room, doing something, even if it’s just staring out the windows.

On any given day, I’m missing far too much.

View from the Porch – Some say the World will end in Fire, Some say in Ice

Don’t even try talking to me before I’ve sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I’m out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

Four thirty ay em the alarm goes off. The wife has to go to work. Weaver, the aptly named young cat, starts her five minute ritual of walking all over the bed looking for a place to settle down again. I steer her onto my wife and she walks all over her, including her head, which is covered by the blanket.


No matter how much a woman tells you they’re being quiet so you can continue to sleep and rest, they’re lying to you. Women are incapable of behaving that way. When they’re up, everyone is up.

Five thirty ay em I’m on the front porch with coffee and cigar waving goodbye to the wife as she pulls out of the driveway. A very small hint of light is in the east, very small.

The other day I watched a show, I think it’s called How the Universe was Made, or close enough. This one was on meteors. Somewhere out there is a belt of rock debris circling the sun. Now and then the rocks collide and get thrown out of orbit. I think that’s when they call them asteroids and when they enter earths atmosphere they become meteors, I could be wrong, but who cares.

When the rocks collide and one gets thrown out of orbit it’s no different than a car crash. The crash creates a debris field, only this one floats, is traveling at unimaginable speeds and the whole debris field is thrown out of orbit. A couple of months ago I remember hearing about a meteor that was going to pass between the moon and the earth. I don’t recall a debris field ever being mentioned.

As we all know by now, a meteor/asteroid blew up over Russia yesterday. I was curious to know whether or not this had anything to do with the asteroid I had heard about a couple of months ago. I found this:

In what astronomers said was an unrelated coincidence, a larger asteroid, called 2012 DA14, passed relatively close to Earth around 2:24 p.m. ET Friday.

Stargazers in Australia, Asia and Eastern Europe could see the asteroid with the aid of a telescope or binoculars, but it never got closer than 17,100 miles to our planet’s surface.

The Russian meteor was about one-third the size of the asteroid. The two bodies were on very different trajectories, scientists said.

As I stood on my front porch enjoying the quiet of a weekend morning, a meteor streaked straight down and disappeared behind the trees. It was bigger and brighter then any I had ever seen before.

Maybe the astronomers should go watch How the Universe was Made. This all sounds related to me.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

View from the Porch – Sandhill Cranes and Drunks

Don’t even try talking to me before I’ve sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I’m out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

The change to cold weather this morning had its effect on the song birds. Only two bothered to sing and they didn’t sound all that excited about it. All was quiet in the trees around the house. Eventually even the two gave up. Big difference from the last two mornings.

The geese on the river were talking up a storm, but they didn’t seem to show much interest in taking flight and none were seen flying around.

Overhead came the shrill cry of sandhill cranes. That’s the second time this week a large flock of them flew overhead in an effort to head north. It’s like watching drunks on parade. An attempt is made to form a “V” as they fly and they’re quiet as they do that. Then the pattern disintegrates as they all start heading in random directions and their shrill cry is heard.

I imagine a bunch of drunks suddenly losing their concentration on a march and stumbling, falling and laughing as they try to gain some semblance of organization. Eventually a “V” is formed again and all is quiet as they make another attempt to head north.

Three bald eagles moved in and drifted over the tree in front of my house, then swooped in low on the trees across the street. They seemed to be in search of something and I imagine that’s why no squirrels bothered to show their faces.

An hour later, back on the porch and the squirrels came running when they saw me. Time for their morning peanuts. I have my favorite.

I can tell by the white tuft of fur on his leg, like a scar, that this is the one that took a beating last year when a storm did a good job of destroying the trees in the neighborhood. He’s now in charge. Squirrels can be mean little bastards and like to threaten and chase each other when food is involved. They all leave this guy alone. It’s like Moses parting the Red Sea. They all part and give him first dibs at the peanuts and no one dares to challenge him.

He wanders up to me, puts his front paws on my foot and looks up. Okay, where the hell are my peanuts.

View from the Porch – Clouds on the Horizon

Don’t even try talking to me before I’ve sucked down a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee must be sucked down while I’m out on the front porch, with a cheap cigar.

The sky is getting brighter and still more song birds heard, but not seen, throughout the neighborhood. To the east the first hint of the sun is breaking the horizon.

Overhead, nothing but blue skies.

To the west, a wall of dark gray clouds could be seen through the barren trees.

If I were a younger man I could conjure up images of change, a slight darkening in my life, maybe a woman left me, maybe I’m just hung over.

If I were an old man, older and gloomier than I already am, I could conjure up images of life passing, maybe relate the looming gray to the ever increasing number of friends and acquaintances dropping dead like flies, maybe go on about ailing bones and health and frustrating physical limitations.

But all I could come up with is… goddamn clouds, I wish they would make up their minds. I hate winter.