Tag Archives: deck

Reading Outdoors

When I lived in L.A. my apartment had a small wraparound porch. One side of the porch faced south, the other faced east. The east side was the shady side and the south side the sunny side. I spent countless hours sitting on that porch, chair propped back, feet up on the railing, and a book in my lap. I read The Three Musketeers sitting on that porch. I read 2001: A Space Odyssey on that porch. I read Carl Sagan, and Isaac Asimov, and Tom Clancy, and Agatha Christie on that porch. One of the things I missed most when I left L.A. was reading on that porch.

In the 17 years since, I still haven’t read outdoors as much as I did when I had access to that porch. The places I have lived just weren’t as conducive to reading outdoors: vagaries of the east coast weather, combined with a lack of a quiet place to read outside made it difficult. We had a small area in the back of our old house that I tried to read from on numerous occasions, but it never lasted long. On that porch in L.A., I could spend the entire day reading.

At the new house, we have the deck. A few days ago, I went out there in the late afternoon when the humidity was low and breeze rustled through the trees. I had a book with me, and my youngest daughter, and we sat out there, she watching the birds, while I read. An hour passed in the blink of an eye. It was delightful.

This afternoon, when all of my meetings were over, and the house was quiet, I went out there again. I took along one of the books I’m reading, Jerome Holtzman’s No Cheering in the Pressbox (#93 on Sports Illustrated top 100 sports books of all time). Once again, the humidity was low. A freshening breeze rustled the trees and kept the bugs away. I sat on a deck chair in the bright sun, and propped my feed up on another chair, and read. It was delightful. It might even be better than the porch in L.A. Time will tell.

Reading on the deck

We need to populate the deck with decent deck furniture, but I realized right away that an umbrella of somekind is critical. I forgot how bright a white page is when reflecting the light of the summer sun. Still, I enjoyed sitting out there. The house is situated far enough from main roads so that there is no traffic noise. With the breeze blowing, all I could hear was the wind in the trees. The sun felt warm, and the book, thus far, was excellent.

I have a feeling I’m going to get a lot of reading done out on that deck. I may even get some writing done out there. Heck, it was so nice out today that I considered taking my laptop out there and doing some work.

I still miss the porch in L.A. But I miss is a little less now, thanks to the new deck.

Sunday Morning, On the New Deck

Among the many little advantages to the new house is the deck. The deck overlooks the backyard, which slopes down into the local park—the same park our kids have been going to for ten years now. A deck wasn’t on our list of must-haves, but ever since putting the offer on the house, I’ve imagined sitting out there on Sunday morning, reading the papers.

This morning, after our youngest woke us up around 6 am, I took advantage of the unexpected wake up call to do just that: I went out onto the deck and spent nearly an hour and a half reading the Washington Post, listing to the birds, and watching the joggers and bikers descend into the park.

A picture from the new deck
A picture form the new deck this morning.

For some reason, it made reading the newspaper that much more enjoyable. I found several new books to read. Among them, Ballpark, Baseball in the American City by Paul Golderberger, and Ten Innings at Wrigley by Kevin Cook—a rare instance in which a review in the paper convinced me to add books to my reading list. Tony Horwitz, who recently died unexpectedly, has a new book out. I enjoyed reading Blue Latitudes when it came out, and have added his new book, Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide to my list.

Sitting on the deck and reading the Sunday papers may seem like a small thing. But given how hectic life has been lately, with house-hunting, packing, moving, unpacking, all on top of our normal jobs and chores, the quiet comfort of sitting out there made me feel good.It didn’t go unnoticed. When I came in to make some eggs, the Little Miss, noting my cheerful demeanor, said, “Daddy, you sure seem in a good mood this morning.” (Maybe I haven’t been a good mood lately?) I was, despite being awakened earlier than I would have liked. And I think it was due in large part to that hour out on the new deck.