In Praise of Sameness

I’ve been sitting in the swing on our newly spruced up porch this afternoon, and…well, that’s pretty much it. I’ve been sitting in the swing on our porch. I could add that I’ve been gently rocking, basking in the sun and its warmth on my shoulders. Or closing my eyes every so often, lifting my chin to feel the whisper of a breeze on my face. Whatever the descriptive details, by most measures, I’ve been doing nothing, and today, like yesterday, and the day before, has been quiet and uneventful.

And what a gift that is.

I never tire of this view

In this pandemic year, when for so many of us the days have blurred one into the next, in seeming perpetuity, sameness is not a quality that’s been held in high regard. But it has its virtues. Monotony may be boring, but it also signals that no change has come along that’s ripped a hole in the fabric of your life. Novelty in many forms is welcome, but sometimes no news really is good news. A series of uninterrupted ordinary days is, I think, an underappreciated blessing.

Sameness can be a gift in other ways. I’ve been painting a lot recently, and I like to work in an illustration style, a combination of black ink and watercolors. My preferred subjects are fantastical flowers, funny birdies, and (surprise) cats. When my mother recently passed along a plate I’d drawn for her for Mother’s Day in 1977, I was amused to see that my subject matter, if not my style, was established by the time I was seven. There was something strangely reassuring about that sameness. And now, when I paint, I’m drawn to repetitive pattern-making. It’s an immersive, meditative practice for me. The repetition of line and shape is calming, and I like to think that calm translates to the viewer’s experience, too.

There’s not much else to report on today. I’ve sipped vanilla almond tea and written a few lines in my journal. I’ve listened to happy woofs and barks from the nearby dog park, and watched frisbee golfers fling brightly colored discs toward a hilltop of oaks and maples, their branches still winterbare. Kitty Charlie Kate joined me for a few minutes, sniffing the fresh air, turning her long white whiskers to the wind.

It’s a quiet day here on the porch. New adventures await tomorrow. Today I’m content to watch the shadows inch across the floorboards with the sun’s long arc, one slow minute at a time.