Porches are possibly one of the best inventions ever. They are such an American thing. Originally the front porch was designed to sit on for shade and to catch a cool breeze before every thing was air conditioned. The back porch was usually screened in and was used for sleeping in the sweltering summer. Now we have little stoop type porches to Gone With The Wind porches. However big or small we still tend to congregate there.
The front porch is sort of like the transition area from the outside world to the more private world of a home. So much happens out on the porch; business deals are agreed upon, political discussions heat up, secrets are told and first kisses stolen. It’s a part of the house that belongs to everyone. No one can be locked out of the porch.
When we moved five years ago I traded my screened back porch surrounded by woods for an open air porch facing the lake. We live in a town home, so our back porch neighbors are close. We’ve borrowed sugar and shared coffee over the railing. We’ve also learned how to be respectful of porch privacy.
Our back porch is my favorite place of the house. I sit out there for a few minutes every morning to read, have coffee and stare at the water. It’s better than therapy. The porch is also the best place for long phone conversations.
I sat on the back porch and talked to my sister-in-law, Rayanna, the other day. She has been in a face to face battle with breast cancer. We talked about how perspective changes when your life is threatened. Nothing changes, but everything changes. The importance of parts of life intensify while other stuff is totally disregarded. There’s no longer time for the ten cent conversations. Everything becomes more meaningful. Porch conversations are the best whether in person or over the phone.
There is just something comforting about the porch. It really is a state of mind. And the porch has such a connecting factor. Notice the next time you drive through a small town … people sitting on the front porch always wave.