On the porch

I love a porch. This extension of the home may have its roots in the Greek and Roman buildings where porticos served a valuable function, providing shelter, gathering spots, and the ever-welcome breeze and escape from the heat inside of the home.

Porches invite you to pause, to sit awhile, and to contemplate. In home building in the United States, they disappeared in the post World War I era when housing was in high demand for returning soldiers and their families. The brick boxes that went up quickly were focused on efficient completion so they could be occupied and not on aesthetics. I live in one of those 1940s boxes, and trust me, everything was efficient. The goal was to get it done. Make it quick, make it affordable, and get it sold. So, we have added a porch to the back of the house to satisfy the need for this place to relax and enjoy the essence of the outdoors without getting rained on.

My favorite porch memory is of the farmhouse porch on my Uncle Johnnie’s house. That porch followed the walls and turns around five sides of this complicated 7-sided house with gazebo-like structures at the middle corners or turns. As a child, you imagined that the porch went on forever. There were porch swings, rockers, and benches all along the way. The filigree in the railings was filled with spindles and cut-out designs of flowers and leaves. That porch was a marvelous playground. We made cornhusk dolls there, and if you know what a milking filter is, you will recognize the multi-layered dolls made from milking filters with their wide-flowing skirts and corn cob heads.

A porch is a place to retreat and a place to meet with friends. Regardless of the stressors of the day, the porch seems to remove them. Perhaps the breeze that passes through the porch serves to sweep them away. Or maybe the sway of the swing moves them to another place where they will not concern you. I hope you have a porch or a favorite Inn in the countryside where you can retreat to their porch and release the tensions of the day.