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Screened-in Porch

February 21, 2012

Don loved porches, all kinds of porches. He loved porches that wrapped around old houses. He loved sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, a drink on the table and a cigarette in one hand, his eyes focused beyond seeing, far away. I would be with him on the porch but mostly immersed in my own world, with a book in my hand. It was enough for us to occupy the same space–no jealousy of the other’s world, no desire to meddle.

Mosquitoes never bothered Don but they were merciless to me. Hence, we agreed to screen the back porch of our very first house. Don could not wait to come home to that porch. We reveled in several fantastic summer storms on that porch. Don would tell me how much he loved the storms, ending, “You should have experienced those Iowa storms!”

I miss Don’s sitting on that porch and think of him, growing up in Iowa, his eyes wide, in awe of storms. These days, I live with Don before, during and after the time we spent together and remember part of Rumi’s poem.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They are in each other all along.

I used to have ambitions–large and small–but now I want to sit in a wooden chair on a screened-in porch, my hands cradling a mug of steaming tea. When sunlight, golden and astonishing, embraces me through the screen, instead of conjuring fantasies, close or far away, I want to roam around my heart full of flames, bright and joyful, kindled by memories of love.

Looking for Don: A Meditation will soon be available. Below are comments I received from a friend who read the manuscript.

You must be proud of your achievement in Looking for Don–in some ways perhaps harder than completing your many award-winning films. It was courageous of you to tell what was in your heart—in descriptive and meditative prose, poetry, dreams and paintings—but always I felt the effect of art, shape, and wholeness to your work. What a wonderful tribute to Don and to your marriage. I really believe that this book will move many people who do not know either of you and will help them explore and engage their own feelings of love and grief.



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  1. I’ve lived most of my life in Iowa storms and I have to agree with your Don. They can be truly wonderful. But they can also be terrifying! As a child we made many trips to the cellar when we spotted tornado-like clouds on the horizon. I am always in awe of God’s creation during storms.

    Your memories of Don are beautiful and I gain much by reading them. Thanks.

    • Thanks for writing to me.

      I visited Iowa several times with Don but never really
      experienced the storms Don described to me so vividly.
      Don and I wrote a joint memoir which I hope to publish next year. There Don writes about Iowa storms. Please look for it next year. This year, it is Looking for Don: A Meditation.

      Dai Sil

  2. This is beautiful Dai Sil ! I can see Don on the screened in porch.
    and I’ve always loved that Rumi poem. I’m so glad you included it in your post.
    I can’t wait to read your book. It’s a gift to the world !

    • Thanks, Maryann, for writing to me. I see Don on that porch often.
      Everytime tears fill my eyes but I see Don beyond my blurry eyes still sitting on a porch high up in the sky.

      Yest, Rumi’s poem is beautiful.
      I miss him so much.
      Dai Sil

  3. how lovely and how welcoming. your porch is just perfect!! lucky you.
    screened in porch

    • thanks.

      My late husband, Don, loved screened in porch. He used write all his memoes for the office sitting at that porch.

      A small luxury in life.

      Dai Sil

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