Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. I'm so glad I have a front porch where I have a view of God's amazing natural beauty.

When I drive down into my yard, the house is surrounded by trees that fill the valley and continue out into the pasture east and south.

To the north, the tree coverage is thick. During spring and summer, I have a beautiful green forest all my own. In the fall, the color changes to gold, orange and brown. In winter, it stands bare in the cold except for the green cedars in the west shelter belt.

When we were a busy family -- doing chores, working on 4-H projects, milking cows, raising crops, raising chickens and children, cooking, canning, ironing, and patching -- we didn't have time to enjoy sitting on the porch to just relax.

But after things slowed down -- the family had grown and flew the coop -- we had an empty nest, and we spent time sitting on the front porch ... Jim in an old rocking chair and me on a comfortable straight-back kitchen chair I still use.

Where I grew up, the front porch on the house was screened. Mom was glad that kept the flies and millers out of the house, but it wasn't easy to see out. All these years later, even though I'm alone, I can enjoy the peace and quiet I find on my porch away from the city noise and hum of traffic.

One day, I watched two turtles traveling across my yard. They were really moving, headed to see if more ripe mulberries had fallen to the ground.

I've seen deer come to pick berries from the tree branch, and there was a purple splat on the car windshield.

That brings back memories. When I was a kid, I crawled up into the tree to pick mulberries into a syrup bucket. Many times, our kids would lay a sheet down and shake the branches. The berries tasted so good in a bowl with cream and sugar.

There is a spot where bare branches of an old cottonwood towers above the green trees. I watch wild turkeys come for the night. They fly up to roost in the high treetop.

I watched the mother cat move her kittens to another place -- hidden from me, she thought -- but I saw her carry each of her five kittens by the nape of the neck.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Now she has brought them to live under the front porch. Watching kittens play is so much fun.

I'm so glad things in our world are not a solid color -- when we were young we'd take out the green crayon and color tree leaves and grass solid green. How boring that would be. When I study my yard, the varied colors are beautiful. I have always loved the dark green vines that have grown and wound themselves all the way to the top of the windmill.

The cactus in the pasture have a beautiful, big yellow flower.

You have to watch closely, they open in the morning and shine all day, the next morning and shine all day -- the next morning they are gone, only a dry stub left. Eventually, each pod on the cactus has one flower.

It smells so good when the lilac bushes are covered with flowers and the black locust trees are in bloom. They have a fragrance that fills the air.

The same for clover and alfalfa -- my mom used to put a clover sachet in her hankie drawer.

This time of year the cicada insects serenade me. They aren't singing in the morning; around noon they start, a few at a time. By evening, the full chorus is performing a shrill concert. They are so loud I really can't hear anything but them. Soon they will be gone until another year.

No one can draw a picture of it, take its photo or describe it with words. You have to feel it in your heart, smell the aroma and hear the quiet that is full of comforting sounds.

I feel no where can a person find a more private, quiet satisfying place than your own front porch in the country.

Opal Flinn is a member of The Hays Daily News Generations advisory committee.