I don’t really like the idea of a schedule. “Routine” sounds a little better but also a bit boring. But “ritual” has a pleasant, soothing connotation for me. Over the past few weeks my evening porch time has developed into a ritual of sorts. After all my evening responsibilities are taken care of, I pour a glass of wine, light candles and incense, turn on some music and settle in for a peaceful ending to my day. David often joins me if it isn’t too warm and he doesn’t see any mosquitos. When he’s with me we turn our chairs to face one another and I rest my feet in his lap. Many times I have a kitten in my lap. Most of the time Shiloh is out there with us, too. Sometimes we talk but mostly we just enjoy the music, and lately, the sound of the cicadas. It’s a soothing way to wind down after a busy day and it, along with my red wine, helps lower my blood pressure.
I’ve come to enjoy my porch time so much that I’ve started looking for other ways to integrate pleasant rituals into my daily life. I’ve long been in the habit of drinking my morning tea while checking email, Facebook and blogs. However, I’ve been thinking about instituting a different morning ritual. I’ve tried drinking my tea on the front porch but the cats are all drawn to the scent of my Earl Grey and try their best to get a taste. Batting cats away from my beloved tea is not the most pleasant way to start the day. I do, however, also have a huge balcony off our bedroom which has possibilities. I used to sit out there occasionally but it became a bit of a dumping ground for David’s tools while he was working on replacing the siding. He’s not done so I just left everything (although I did neaten it up a bit). I finally decided the other day that I could put it all in a box for the garage and when he has time to get back to his project, it would be a simple matter to get it back out.
So I did. I also washed and ironed the tablecloth and chair pad covers for the little table and chair set. I swept the leaves and other large debris off the indoor/outdoor carpeting. Tomorrow I plan to vacuum it thoroughly. Last week I picked up a few decorative items at the dollar store and Goodwill. Eventually I hope to have an iron daybed out there but until that happens, I decided I could bring up the tri-fold lounge chair that I use (twice a year – in March) for sunbathing. I have a washable quilt that I can cover it with and I bought a pillow for it. I’m envisioning afternoons reading on the balcony…at least on those days when it isn’t pushing 100 degrees.
I’m also going to buy three ferns to hang out there. I had some which I even managed to over-winter in the house for 2 or 3 years but finally let go this winter as they looked pretty scraggly. Eventually David will be re-doing the balcony and hopefully screening it in, but in the meantime I can pretty it up and make it a comfortable space for morning tea and afternoon naps.
Speaking of naps, that’s something else I could turn into a pleasant ritual rather than simply crashing across the end of my bed when I can no longer keep my eyes open. I don’t sleep well, which is quite the understatement, so a short afternoon nap is a necessity many afternoons. It’s something I wish weren’t necessary. In fact, I wish I didn’t have to sleep much at all because there are so many things I want to do and the days just seem so short. But instead of fighting it, I’m thinking that I should “embrace the nap”. As I child, I recall my grandfather taking a nap every single day just after lunch. No matter what was going on, as soon as he ate he retired to his room, closed his door and went to sleep. Now, Grandma never did this. She seemed to be busy from dawn to dark and I wish I had the energy she had. But it is what it is. I think I will institute a regular nap time – the same every day – and just accept it as part of my daily routine.
Well, I just noticed that it is after 9:30. I have much more to say about all this and more to share about rituals but I think I’ll go ahead and close for now. David just called up to me and asked, “Don’t we have pie?”. Yes, I made a coconut cream pie for my dad and a pineapple cream for us this afternoon. Guess I’d better go make some whipped cream and warm up some coffee. And then it will be “Porch Time”. But do check back tomorrow to read more about my thoughts on rituals.