After spring arrived, I left my dim lamp and leather chair by the indoor fireplace to find a spot outside on the front porch to write in the warmth and light of the sun. The perfume of purple hyacinths infused my new workspace. Ornamental pear trees along the block also added their powerful scent. Noisy traffic and chatty passersby occasionally drew my eyes off the page. But I liked being outdoors and writing with paper and pen.
During the colder months, I composed mostly on the computer in the quiet house, which had the advantages of climate control and proximity to coffee in the kitchen. The need to do housework was my biggest distraction. But I would rather put more thoughts in a notebook than empty a dishwasher.
Recently, I joined two other local writers on a backyard patio for a mini-submit-a-thon. We expected a morning of sunshine and short sleeves, but gray clouds kept the temperatures cool enough for jackets.
A slight outdoor glare made our computer screens difficult to see as we transferred words from legal pads and spiral notebooks. Pollen stirred. Our cast iron table wobbled. I discovered a scratch on the left lens of my new sunglasses.
But on the plus side, we worked amidst the backdrop of a budding peach orchard. Rows of outstretched branches ladened with pink blossoms extended across the field. From afar, the delicate flowers looked like puffs of cotton candy. Up close, the blooms resembled elaborate marzipan on a wedding cake.
Counting how many flowers each tree held would be a feat. But we were gathered in the space of chirping robins and a sleeping dog to tally words, clarify meaning, improve passages, and send our work to various editors.
During winter and inclement conditions, our group meets via conference call, but weather permitting we prefer to assemble outdoors. The farm landscape slightly changes in between our gatherings. But as the orchard grows, our writing does, too. At our upcoming meeting, I expect to see pink petals on the ground and rows of fruit trees thicker with green leaves.
At the same time, our grove of writers’ notebooks will be spread across the glass tabletop and thriving with new cursive scribbles of metaphors and plots.