My Soul Always Dreams in Color

(Swallowtail on my petunias)

Like most people, I have an image of my dream house in my mind.  It has evolved over the years, but right now I envision a two-story Victorian with a turret.  The turret has windows all around and window seats with reading nooks where I can curl up with a book and gaze out at the birds singing in the huge oak tree out front and wave at my neighbor who’s coming up my front steps with a freshly-baked loaf of banana bread…oops, sorry…I got carried away.  Anyhow, in my dream, my Victorian is painted a sunny yellow, with white gingerbread trim and old-fashioned roses climbing up the latticework and railings out front.  There are window boxes in every window with a riot of bright flowers tumbling out and a slightly unkempt English garden to the side, where hollyhocks and gladiolas and hydrangeas and pansies and zinnias and Johnny jump-ups grow in mad profusion.   And the porch—it’s huge—a wraparound porch, with a bead board ceiling and ceiling fans turning lazily in the cool morning breeze. There’s plenty of room for rockers and gliders and a swing or two.  And in my dream, there I am, in the swing, moving languidly back and forth, drinking a glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade and reading a new book of Lee Smith or Tim Gautreaux short stories. 

Yeah, that’s the dream.

The reality is that I live in an older doublewide trailer with low ceilings, low doorways, vinyl siding, vinyl trim, vinyl walls, vinyl floors, and vinyl shelves.   One word: Plastic.   But at least, we have a porch.   Not a wraparound—in fact, it’s rather small. And when we moved here, it was a very plain porch indeed.  The people we bought the place from even took the attached swing with them.  But my philosophy has always been that you really can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  Or lemonade out of lemons.  Whichever cliché you prefer.

So soon after moving in, I set to work.  We found some reasonably-priced rockers and a swing to match on sale at Lowes.  I found some cushions with an old-fashioned flowered print on clearance.  We put Victorian gingerbread in all the corners of the porch.  And when spring arrived, we installed window boxes all across the front and sides of the porch and I planted petunias, vincas, and snapdragons in them.  There was almost no landscape in front—just weedy grass growing right up to the front of the porch.   So I planted some tiny lilacs I found on sale at Kmart and some bee balm and catmint and zinnias and purple coneflowers, as well as some of the plentiful daisies I found growing in the fields.  And I bought a packet of morning glory seeds and planted them at the base of the porch lattice, with the idea that they’d grow enchantingly up the lattice.  🙂  And they grew very, very well.  (Caveat:  When it tells you on the seed packet to thin out the morning glory seedlings, believe them.  Lord have mercy, they grow like kudzu!)

(This is what happens when you don’t thin your seedlings.  My porch, my porch steps…)

So, whenever I get the chance, I sit in my porch swing, moving languidly back and forth, drinking a glass of freshly-made-from-concentrate lemonade and reading Lee Smith or Tim Gautreaux or whatever new author I’ve discovered at the library.  I swing and I dream.  And I gaze out at the distant blue mountains and watch as the late-summer wind sends the clouds tumbling across the sky. 


And, sometimes, I can almost imagine that I’m living in my dream house after all.  My lovely Victorian doublewide.  (Did I mention that I have a very vivid imagination?)  Well, at least…I’m living my dream.  When I was young, growing up in sandy, flat, swampy eastern North Carolina, I dreamed of living in the Appalachian mountains one day.  And here I am.

Perhaps not in the place of my material dreams.  No, definitely not.  But I’m in the place my soul has dreamed.  At last, I’m in the place my heart has always lived.  And I am so grateful.  Glory be.

So, I was wondering…does your soul dream? What does it dream?  Are you living the sweetest dreams of your soul?

(The fairy dreams of morning glories)


15 Responses to “My Soul Always Dreams in Color”

  1. Margie Miller Says:

    You have certainly done the very best with what you have. That’s all any of us can ask.

  2. Pat Says:

    Hi Beth…I loved reading both about your dream house and your Victorian doublewide. Your pictures are so lovely.

    I have, in fact, loved reading your entire blog. Reading your archives was quite an emotional experience (in a good way). Each post left me smiling or chuckling out loud or wiping away tears. Thanks so much.

    As far as the dreams of my soul, I’m hoping to be mindful of all the blessings of southeastern Pennsylvania before we head south for a new adventure… my husband and I are moving to Jackson County, North Carolina next year.

    Thanks again…I’m so happy to have discovered your blog.

  3. June Says:

    Beth, these are the sweetest little flowers…I suppose it’s because they were planted with such love. You’ve certainly turned lemons into lemonade and made this house a home. That shot with the little fairy is wonderful!!

  4. Benjamin Says:

    I’m living out my dreams day by day, taking in whatever you all, my friends, and God tell me and fitting wisdom into my sometimes childish perceptions 😀 .

  5. pticester Says:

    You certainly have beautiful flowers and a beautiful view.

    I miss the large porch our old farmhouse had when I was a kid.

  6. Judy Says:

    Those morning glorys are absolutely beautiful. I bet if you lived in that yellow victorian house you would look back at where you are now and think how beautiful your little porch was with the flowers and the wonderful mountain view, and the open fields to walk in and see all that nature has to offer you. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we have until we get what we wish for. I often wish I was back on the farm where my children were born. We have so many happy memories of the place.

  7. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    The picture I found for my post (above) sounds a lot like the house of your dreams. The turret may not have a 360-degree view, but it rises above a big, wrap-around porch.

  8. luckypennies Says:

    I think my soul dreams in the same colors as yours. 😀 And yes, I’m living out my dreams, thanks to God and y’all. What an excellent post.

  9. Clara Melvin Says:

    My soul dreams a lot. I sold my dream house. It was a two story brick that was built in 1900. The ceilings were high and every room had a chimney for a fire. I’m certain that is the only way it was heated when it was built. There were two fire places. We heated with an oil furnace that had been converted over from a coal furnace. The heat loss up the chimney was tremendous. We slept upstairs and one winter night it was below zero in our bedroom. That is one reason we sold it, but now I think back. It would have been easy to put in a new heating system. Why we didn’t do that, I don’t know! The closets were huge walk in closets. One summer my son moved his bed to the closet . I have lots of pictures but my scanner isn’t working. I wish you could see it. Now I think of all the ways I could have decorated but at the time I was working. I DID wall paper a lot and I sanded the wooden floors. I still dream about that house a lot. I’m always living there but it belongs to someone else and I am so frightened they are going to come and find me living there. It always looks so beautiful in my dream and always in color!

  10. CountryDew Says:

    Excellent! Something I will have to think about. Maybe for a long time.

  11. Alane Says:

    I dreamed of a white swing in the air. I was swinging back and forth. The swing was suspended in air ..nothing was holding it up. Does this mean that the Lord is holding me up – as I sway back and forth in this life?What does this mean? I just love your beutiful flowers.

  12. Devilish Southern Belle Says:

    I have these same morning glories, which grow here every year (I didn’t plant them; I guess the homeowners before us did). I never have the heart to cut them back or anything, so I let them grown all over our front bushes, and through the porch railing. LOVE them.

    This year, I am condsidering trying the same thing with climbing roses. I’m just not sure my porch railing can handle the weight.

  13. Citnhia Says:

    Beth, I would take this doublewide over the Victorian any day. You have a beautiful home. A beautiful garden and a lovely writing style to boot. Your pictures are amazing. Great job.

  14. Cinthia Says:

    Well can’t even spell my own name!

  15. eemilla Says:

    Every time I see a morning glory anywhere, I always think of you and your lovely porch with its divine view. I’m trying to read your posts slowly so that hopefully by the time I’m caught up, there will be new ones or novel excerpts or something. Thank you!

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