by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Publishing
My front porch hovers 20 feet above the ground surrounded by forest—sitting on it makes me feel like I’m in the tree house that I always wanted as a child. There’s a fairytale-like sense about it. After my husband and I, and our two dogs, moved in, I immediately knew this porch was made for warm-weather reading. But I couldn’t quite get comfortable. I tried a rocking chair, a lawn chair, and a kitchen chair—all not quite right.
Then one day after a trip to Murphy, I couldn’t get up the one-lane gravel mountain road to our house because a violent storm blew down a tree blocking the way. I went back to town to pass time and wait out the storm. I wandered into my favorite thrift store and saw it—my reading nest. Call it fate.
My reading nest is really a used futon that I bought for $40 and rehabilitated with a new cover and some furniture polish. I piled it with pillows, put a basket for magazines and books next to it, and the sad piece of used furniture was transformed to my cozy reading nest.
On warm days, I heap the pillows at one end and curl up with a book while listening to the murmuring creek next to the house and birds trilling in the background. There are pleasant interruptions—hummingbirds swooping and diving to compete for the best location at the feeder, a skink shimmying up the side of the house in search of an insect snack, carpenter bees who stubbornly try to drill through the new metal roof. At night, I read my Kindle with the lighted cover. It conjures childhood memories of sneaking a read after bedtime with a flashlight and the latest Nancy Drew.
The reading nest has become a favorite spot for company too. Regular summer visitors vie for the nest as a guest bed, and why not? It’s like sleeping in the trees. It’s a place to cuddle with my grandsons and to share with my daughters to talk and read. Ozzie, our Australian Sheppard, thinks it is his alone, and he graciously, sometimes not so graciously, shares it with his humans.
I’ve often referred to the reading nest as the best $40 I ever spent. It’s grown to be a feature of our slightly quirky home, and it reflects who my husband and I are and what we value. It’s become more of a symbol than a physical object; worn, comfortable, and familiar.
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