I've been trying to design a comfortable living space out in the patio, which has no shade and is a barren expanse of concrete. I yearn for something like this, wicker and roses; or a space tented with sheer fabric and colorful with Turkish kilim pillows. I want an arbor of wisteria, a well of shade as cool as of water. The burble of a little fountain, the mumble of kindly bees, the fanning emerald wings of hummingbirds.
I want a place outdoors to sit and write, a blue cafe table under the olives. The kind of nook I made myself before, between doghouse and fence, covered in expansive potato vine. Something with matchstick blinds, something to keep our Shiva garden statue happy and the St. Francis birdbath. And, of course, the birds.
What will it be? The trick is making shade where there is none. Longing for shade trees, for the cottonwood that shaded my childhood. For the branch that I climbed onto, where I sat, looking at the moon, hearing piano music from the open windows at the neighbors' house. I know so little how to conjure tree. How to create a cool oasis in an expanse of burning sand.
image: Porch Sitting Union of America