Tonight, I sat on the back porch and listened to the fireworks in town. Because of the trees, those enormous oaks, I couldn’t see them. Instead I looked directly overhead, into those massive, moss-hung trees, and I watched fireflies blink on and off. I heard the ubiquitous drone of frogs, I saw a big low moon through the branches, and I watched the fireflies put on their own show.
I talked to my mother. I said, it’s okay, Mama. I am glad to be here. Here, in the countryside in north Florida, on my back porch, looking through the trees at the moon. I didn’t think I would ever say that, but I am happy simply to be here, where I am, with my partner.
Honestly, the back yard oaks are so big that the house is under their canopy. I have to stretch my neck way back to see a clear bit of sky.
I remember when we first moved here, I couldn’t wait to sneak outside every morning and watch the daylight grow. I haven’t seen fireflies since I was a child and we would run around catching them, putting them in Mason jars. I hope that Mama set them all free once we were inside and asleep.
I love photos, but I don’t have any of these memories. Instead, we have this place that so reminds me of where I grew up that it feels like home. I never thought I would feel so much like home that I forgive it for being Florida and not Alabama.
Yes, I sit every morning now, most mornings, and have coffee out on the porch, under the trees, watching the light grow. I talk to myself, I talk to my mother, and maybe to God, and I give thanks, just to be exactly where I am.
Independence. That’s what I feel now. Free from regrets, from sadness that things haven’t turned out quite how I imagined they would, but in some ways, better. Which says something about my imagination, I suppose. Not at all what I thought my life would be like now, but no bitterness because it is different. It just is. And I have my partner, and she has me, and we are both reliving our childhood memories to some extent. We are also making new memories that I hope will stay with me as long.
Fourteen years we have been together. No, it’s not our anniversary yet, but Sandy asked me today, and I realized that I have never had anything for fourteen years, except that seminal time from birth through high school, when my mother, my family, was really the center and the filter through which I saw and learned so much.
I am happy, Mama. It’s okay now.
From one back porch, to another.