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The View from My Porch: Starting Point

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

We think of a view as something outside ourselves, like a landscape. It might be a grand view, a visual OMG --- a grand expanse of ocean, the Eiffel Tower, the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the ruins at Petra --- or a quiet one --- a deserted beach, a village in a valley, a red barn in a field, the reflection of autumn foliage in the pristine surface of a lake.

A view is also a perspective, as in this is how I see things.

This is my first blog. I've been a writer and had several careers besides that, currently as a realtor in the Berkshires. I've lived in a number of places and traveled to more. I've observed a lot, and now that I'm a woman of a certain age, I want to share my perspective. So, this blog will be about how I see things, an interior monologue inspired by something outside myself. That might be a scene, breathtaking or otherwise: a building, a room, an object, a person, an interaction, a photo, or something I’ve read. Or nothing: a random thought that sticks.

So, back to my porch. In warm weather, this is my favorite place to experience the flow of thought. My home office seems to demand a different sort of productivity, and that demand often blocks me. The porch demands nothing. It is the intermediary between exterior and interior space, between what's going on out there, and what's going on inside. It allows the mind to wander gently, of its own accord. It's not meditation, but it is meditative.

Today, on my porch, it is a waning September afternoon. The sunlight at this hour casts a golden glow on the still-green-but-beginning-to-be-bright-tipped leaves on the mountainside to the east. As their fathers look on, two small boys ride their bikes, equipped with training wheels, across the little-traveled street, into the neighbor’s pile of leaves. I'm sure a view of children playing is repeated in many places, but it makes me grateful that it exists and that I exist and have the ability to see it.

The Berkshires are a sublimely scenic place, and, several times a day, usually when driving (as a realtor I do a lot of that), I see or otherwise experience something that inspires gratitude. But, it also happens in when I'm riding the New York City subway, looking at the vast diversity of people, struck by the incredible variety of lives and perspectives and experiences around me.

There's so much we take for granted in life, and that's dangerous, because it cuts us off from life and others. Gratitude is a means of connection.

A few years ago, I was finishing writing a book. It was big book, and its research, writing, and photo sourcing took a long time. The publisher’s advance had run out, and, though I had my real estate license and was doing magazine writing and editing, the book had a deadline, which had already been extended, so it demanded virtually all of my time and attention. I made very little money that year, and times were tough, but I got through it. When the book was finished, I turned my full attention to selling real estate, and my income took a turn for the better. This painful experience taught me to appreciate the basics so many of us take for granted — work that provides a decent living, food on the table, reliable health care, a safe place to live, a roof over our heads. It also taught me to feel compassion for those who don't have those things.

As a realtor, my sales range from homes priced below $200,000 to multi-million-dollar properties. The vast majority of my clients throughout that wide price range have worked most of their lives. For every one of them, buying or selling a home represents a new chapter in life. For every one of them, that home is, or was, an everyday luxury, a place to be private or to socialize, a place to be enjoyed.

Mine may not be the grandest porch, an OMG porch, but I know how much of a luxury it is.

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