Monday, June 13, 2016


by Mary Kennedy                                          

We're all overwhelmed, over-worked, stressed out and desperately in need of a getaway! So what do we do? Well, in the winter, that's easy, I escape to Ft. Lauderdale and I find the ocean front condo to be the perfect place to read books, soak up some rays and just chill.

I can sit for hours on the balcony, just relaxing, enjoying the crash of the waves, the sound of the gulls and the soft whisper of the palm trees. It's heaven on earth to me. Here's a view from the balcony of the condo.


So that's what I do in the winter. But what about the hot summer months here in the northeast? With apologies to my Florida friends (you KNOW I love your state!). I just don't want to visit Ft Lauderdale in the summer. (Although I did go in May one year, and it was lovely Not too hot, just right and we took some friends sight-seeing)

But my dilemma is: how do I create a sanctuary right in my own backyard? Well, that's what I did, literally. I turned my porch into a calm, attractive place for reading and reflection. I share it with the cats, or course, but that's fine. There's no clutter, no ringing phones, and I can open the sliders on the days when it's not too hot. When it is, I just crank up the AC.


The view is nice, the woods behind the house provide a shady oasis filled with wildlife. Hours of enjoyment for my cats. (Don't worry, they're indoor cats. No wildlife is injured or chased!) 


I actually try to keep things minimalist, and limit the paper, magazines, etc that I usually have piled all over the house. "A cluttered house is the sign of a cluttered mind," the nuns used to tell me.That message has stayed with me, even though I don't always manage to honor it. The six cats (all rescues) don't care if it's cluttered or not. They just enjoy chilling, and the nice breeze that comes in through the sliders.


It's perfect for relaxing, or thinking deep thoughts. (do cats think deep thoughts? I'm not sure.)

I feed a chipmunk named Gideon, and he's fond of scampering along this walkway, looking for his daily treats (fruit, seeds, nuts.) The cats love to spot him and watch fascinated as he eats. Lately, he's been showing up with another, smaller chipmunk and I think a romance might be brewing.

My cats seem to have reached some sort of detente with Gideon. They stare at him and he stares back. 

Sometimes, of course, the soft breeze and the cool Italian tile floor is just so relaxing, the cats fall asleep! As you know, "cat naps" are one of their favorite occupations.

So now you've had a peek at my sanctuary, my porch. How about you? Do you have a favorite place to escape to? Some place you can kick back and just relax? I hope so!! We all need one, that's for sure.

Mary Kennedy.