The World from Our Porch

It would be selfish of me to say that porches represent the South or that Southerners can lay claim to the wonder of architectural design, the porch.  I suspect that people all over this country sit on their balconies, lanais, loggias, and decks and gather the world into their psyches.  They visit, think, meditate, and dream outdoors with the wonders of nature inspiring them, even if nature only consists of a patch of grass and a wall separating the next door neighbor.

I can only speak for myself and my experience with porches.

I grew up on one.  It wrapped around two sides of my family’s “home place” and allowed a nice corner for a swing.  My father’s family were the first occupants, and I have black and white photos of the entire bunch arrayed on the porch.  We moved into the house in the late ‘60s, and my earliest memories of the porch were the evenings when my father would come home from the hospital and swing my infant brother to sleep.  This was the only time I ever heard my father sing.

I dated on that porch, even after cold football games.  By my high school years the house was so crowded that I wouldn’t bring a boy inside for anything.  We did enjoy watching the crowd from the games drive by, tooting and hollering.  That was more fun, in fact, than the awkward first kiss or the stilted conversations.

When we created our own Shangri La on a farm in the same hometown as my grandparents, about two miles from the old home place, my husband and I determined that porches would grace the house on all sides so that we could enjoy every vista the land offered.

Each side has its special magic.  Facing Southwest, the front holds the old walnut and maple trees and carpet of moss that once led my niece to exclaim, “Oh look, it’s an enchanted forest!”

The west side is mostly my favorite, with a newly resurfaced garden shed, lily ponds, my husband’s raised herb & strawberry beds, and kidney-shaped perennial beds ringed with rocks.  I love to stand on my deck/porch and see the blooming flowers while hummingbirds dive bomb the feeders all around me.

The northern side is the most private.  The view stretches to the orchard and barn.  I go to this side to think when I am writing.

The eastern side is everyone who visit’s favorite.  We have my husband’s grandparents’ old glider painted smartly like the corner swing and flanking mismatched wicker rockers.  We have cozy Jackson Vine arching above the fascias, between the thick, square columns, giving the house a long-lived-in feel.  We have our little side yard with a picket fence enveloping it, glorious red rose bushes punctuating the green field beyond.  Our land stretches to the larger Busby Road, but we see no house or neighbor from any angle.

Yesterday evening, as the last rays of the sun glinted through the leaves of the walnut trees in our front yard, my husband and I were sitting on our front porch ending our glorious weekend outside together.

“I have an idea for your blog,” he said.

“Tell me!” I replied, eager for inspiration.

“You should name your blog “The View From My Front Porch.  Think about it, Emily.  We entertain here.  You and I discuss everything out here all seasons of the year.  We solve our family’s problems, the country’s problems.  We dream.  We philosophize.  We see the world from these porches.”

I looked at my brilliant engineer husband and realized that his wisdom would be something I would be discovering forever and probably, mostly, right there on that porch.

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