A Place to Look Out From

So, I’ve been looking for the 5 years that we’ve lived in our house down here in Franklin for the perfect place to sit and read in the mornings. It’s kind of like finding the right table at a restaurant or, better yet, the right seat at the right table at a restaurant. You never want to be seated out in the middle of the room – you need to sort of be backed up against something so that you can look out and see all the other patrons, but not be surrounded by them, so that you can hear the rumblings of all the other conversations but still be fully engaged in your own. One of our favorite restaurants here in town is Flemings on West End up in Nashville. Roshare and I always call ahead and request a “back booth” because not only are they set beautifully on the back wall against the second story windows but the booths are actually slightly elevated for a nearly perfect vantage point. (I saw Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman there one night from my back booth vantage point – they were at a “regular” table – poor kids). It seems like every place I travel to I look for that spot to sit and be quiet in the mornings – the back lounge of our tour bus…out of the way but always with a window view, the screened porch down at the River in Georgia, a certain window-filled spot that looks out over the field below my parents’ house when we’re down visiting them. The truth is, our front porch here at our house is pretty much the perfect place were it not for the colder seasons and stormier days. It’s almost getting warm enough this time of year to venture outside, but the mornings are still a bit too cold for my pansy musician self. Even still, when it’s really calling, I’ve been known to bundle up in layers of warm clothes and brave the cold just for a good morning sit on the front porch. I was talking with my friend Al not too long ago about this very thing and he asked me to describe what it is exactly that I’m looking for. After one of my typically long and rambling explanations, partly for clarity but mostly for defense of my sanity, Al said I was really just looking for a “perch.” He went on to explain that the beauty of perches – turns out he’s a fan as well – is that by definition they are elevated for view and they are “set apart” for safety and for resting. He said it’s all about a vantage point, a place to look out from. One of my favorite things about guiding backpacking trips out west years ago was that almost every route we did crossed over the Continental Divide at some point or another. From those sorts of high places you get perspective, a sense of space that shows on some level where you’ve come from and where you might be headed…physically, emotionally, spiritually. Obviously, my morning perch is far from the top of the Divide these days, but the concept is the same…a place to look out from. A place that is safe, that gives perspective, a place for resting and reflecting. Truth be told, I spend less time in the mornings reading than I do just gazing. Dreaming maybe. Wondering. Hoping. And from my perch, wherever it may be, by the time I finally get around to the reading, it seems that the stuff of those pages has more room in my spirit to come alive, to mean something.

14 Responses

  • Michelle wrote on March 24, 2010

    love this! I am a "back booth" person myself! It's these kind of spots I look for when I'm having my daily quiet time with God. It's nice to have that one spot where you can sit and just be still in his presence!

  • Jeremy wrote on March 24, 2010

    I definitely get this. I need to have my places as well. It's funny that you say sometimes you spend more time gazing than reading. I do the same thing. I'm always captivated by what is going on around me. When I go to the coffeeshop to read (of course in my same seat at the same table) I always spend the first 30 - 45 mins just watching and listening to what is going on (not in a creepy way!). It somehow settles me.

  • Joni B. wrote on March 24, 2010

    a great morning perch is so key. as is having the time to get there daily for that gazing, dreaming, wondering... for me, doesn't so much matter the external view of my little sanctuary, but knowing that I'm perched there for an internal view helps me put my seat on the seat, so to speak. The ability to soak up a little sunshine and a few morning birdsongs is icing.

  • 3rdangelsmsg wrote on March 25, 2010

    I understand completely! We used to live in an apartment that had a wonderful window seat. I would sit there for hours just praying, reading my bible, and looking out at the large oaks in the front yard. Since we moved over 9 years ago to the home we're in now, I just haven't found a good spot. I actually have to leave my house and go to the ocean or the woods to really talk to God for any good length of time. Wow, do I ever miss the window seat!

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  • Erin wrote on March 28, 2010

    I love this! When we built my daughter a playhouse from our own design, I added an "eagles nest" way up top. My daughter was 2-years-old at the time. What 2-year-old needs a 10 foot high look out? I think it was more for me than for her! Yes, it was. I take my chair and book/Bible up there and have a relaxing time while she plays below in the sandbox. My spirit comes alive when I'm up high. I can breathe in deeply up there and it feels like I'm healing something in my heart.

  • Maggie M. wrote on April 6, 2010

    How great is our God who creates us similar yet different (I am Kenyan). I know exactly what you mean about the back booth and about the perfect spot. Been searching for that spot for seven years now :( but God has met me in the weirdest of places and allowed me to learn to quiet my heart in all sorts of situations.

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