There is a trend right now to have not just a patio table and chairs for eating outside, but to have couches and chairs for lounging, too. Some of the photos I have seen are full-on living rooms with area rugs, coffee tables and outdoor lighting, too. People even put televisions outside, presumably the perfect setup to watch the Stanley Cup in June.
On the one hand, I love the idea. When the weather is beautiful, who wants to stay inside on the couch? Canada has such short summers, we might as well take advantage of every tiny bit of it, even when we are tired an need to flake out for a while and take in a few shows.
On the other hand, television seems like an instrusion into the backyard, with its flickering blue light and sounds that too often include gunshots, sirens and cursing. Why be distracted by images on a screen when we could be taking in the feel of the soft grass, the smell of the lily of the valley and all of the chirping and buzzing sounds that are there for us in the backyard?
Far nicer than a television in the garden is a book. It is still a distraction, perhaps, but it is quieter. It patiently waits for you while you look up to see a duck fly overhead or listen to a robin singing happily on the fence. Best of all, a book is easy to take with you when the sun moves and you need to shift your chair back into the shade again. It can be taken not only into your backyard, but to the park or in my case last week, to the gardens at Erchless Estates.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I wanted to read. What better place than down by the lake? So with my hat and my book, I made my way there to wander through the historical property until I found a bench sheltered by a few trees and looking out onto the water.
I read for awhile. I watched a family of geese and their goslings walk past. I smiled at a man out for a walk. I saw a few boats come into the harbour. I read some more.
Later, when I wanted to stretch my legs, I wandered a few more paths and saw a gorgeous rock garden full of blues and greens. I stopped on the stone steps and read there for a while, this time in the sun where I could enjoy the warmth and the tulips at the same time.
It was a lovely morning that stretched lazily into the afternoon. And when I decided to head back home again, I tucked my book under my arm for later. You can’t do that with a television.