From my usual spot on the screened porch in Oak Hill, I watch the shifting light and shadow of afternoon, the fall of leaves loosened by the breeze and the gentle sway of moss in the trees. I cherish this hour when all around me, apart from chair and porch are uninfluenced by human hands. The perfect whisper of quiet but intense life flourishing at the height of spring.
Puttering about in the front yard earlier (picture below) I met a neighbor from 200 yards down the road. Except for short times in Missouri, Manny has lived here for eleven years, deeply attached to the quiet and isolation. He told me stories of a large black panther living in the woods across from my gate, and of her cub and their fondness for chickens. He described a 400 pound wild pig that he and a couple of friends bagged one night, and of the good fishing in the lagoon at the end of the road. I enjoyed the stories but am not certain I want to join the night hunts or fish for trout in the lagoon.
I asked Manny if he could connect me with a local high school kid who might want to earn some money cutting grass. The house did come with a riding lawnmower, but the thought of mowing an acre of land with a couple of dozen trees in a hundred degrees of summer heat is daunting. Without the least hesitation Manny told me not to worry, that he would take care of cutting the grass. I didn’t have to study the man to know his price for that work will be more than reasonable. Something about Manny tells me he is not Beverly Hills.
Still no sizable furniture in the house but it grows nearer day by day to something like inhabitable. There are now dishes and bowls, napkins, soap, toothpaste and a few items in the refrigerator apart from ice. Hope I can remember to bring some new clothespins tomorrow. The house is equipped with a washer and dryer but when possible I want to use the clothesline in the backyard. Nothing like the smell of freshly washed clothes dried in the sun. And I have to add, there’s something kind of nostalgic and good about having a backyard clothesline.