The Name of our Home is Cabin Tranquillity
"Tranquillity - - no matter how little effort it takes"
THE MOTTO OF A TRUE PORCH SITTER
By Robert K. Irwin–published 7/2/73 The Sun Bulletin, Binghamton, NY
You’re a member of the great American be-doing-something-constructive-all-the-time generation, right?
For example: you’ve probably tried golf, tennis, fishing, camping, swimming, boating, water-skiing, bicycling, sailing, and even croquet, right?
Why not try a little good old-fashioned front-porch sitting this summer?
Front-porch sitting is an art that few mastered even at the tranquil turn of the century. Even few have mastered it in these frantic times. The first requisite for serious porch-sitting is comfortable clothes–soft, neither warm nor cool and pliable.
Second, you must have a comfortable chair. Any old comfortable chair is not good enough. The best for marathon porch-sitting are overstuffed, the kind you sink into and can’t get out of. Use of a hammock is viewed by purists as cheating.
Next, you should have a proper porch.
Any old porch can do, but the best porches meet these requisites:
First, it mush have a roof. Porch-sitting is no fun in the rain.
Second, it must be open on all three sides, to let the zephyrs of summer in and out. Some like their porches screened, but purists don’t.
Third, a set of clear-voiced wind chimes are essential, since they break monotony. If you are a music lover, a record or tape player is essential. Radios are out, since they break in with un-tranquilizing commercials.
A lethargic pooch and a lap-sitting cat are essential for animal lovers since they provide companionship without distraction.
There are two schools of thought on the use of drink. One side argues that fine beers and wines, even an occasional tonic drink enhance tranquillity. Opponents argue that it distracts from serious contemplation.
Running to the refrigerator is a problem, so serious drinking sitters work by the pitcher, magnum or six-pack.
The most important part of prize-winning porch-sitting, however, is not what you do, but what you take pains to avoid doing.
A former champion porch sitter recently won laurels by watching a lawnmower disappear in his rank, unmowed front lawn.
Another champion, who happened to work nights, watched the moon set every consecutive night for nine months, even when the orb was obscured by fog and vapors.
Another ribbon winner simultaneously watched the raising of six families of birds in his front yard this spring without so much as turning his head.
If you are an aspiring porch sitter do not let these tales of glory discourage you. It takes years of practice to learn the talents these layabouts have developed. The best porch sitters all advise fledgling sluggards to begin modestly and work up slowly to the peak of their abilities.
Begin with five minutes, empty-handed, on a day with sparkling weather. As you discover your undeveloped talent for doing absolutely nothing, increase the time spent on your porch until you have learned a feeling of mild indulgence for those around you who spend most of their lives rushing from place to place to have fun.
Then you will know you have become a member of that least-populous of groups–true porch sitters. And remember, the true porch sitters’ motto is “tranquillity–no matter how little effort it takes.”
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