Postcard From the Porch #1
Since I was 10 we never had a front porch. And it has always seemed like a great loss. We had concrete slabs that we called porches. We had steps that led up to doors and one could construe those as porches.
It seemed like an absence that was more than just bad architectural choices. It also seemed like an afront on the notion of the public sphere. If our neighborhoods had already lost their sense of history and rootedness (changing them in for saplings in the front yard, bigger garages, and endless rows of repetition), now they were also trading in the notion of neighborliness, evening leisure and a public identity. Sure, there were still hint when the electric garage door openers rolled back and revealed the particularities inside of the two car garage or when we traipsed out to the curbside to pick up mail or a paper and happenstantially ran into a neighbor, but otherwise it had sadly all disappeared.
Some other time I'll write about how magic that first front porch was. Or how magic it felt when, the first house that Lynn and I bought together, build in the same decade as that first yellow house on Main Street, the one with the magic front porch, had a big porch. A screened in upper deck and a wide beckoning lower deck porch where we installed a porch swing.
But as we went from state to state, neighborhood to neighborhood, the porch wasn't the priority and we ended up without front porches over and over again. And our most recent house is disappointing like the rest -- EXCEPT -- that there is a Back Porch -- really a balcony, but a kind of porch that does overlook our common green space and a walking path. There's plenty of waving and chatting and it's a perfect place to be outside in public.
So last night Alyssa came over and hung out on the porch and chatted and we caught up for a couple of hours and while this is called postcard from the porch #1? There have really been quite a few delightfully-low-key, quiet chats out on the porch. I'll try to archive them a little more comprehensively in the future. Come over and join me sometime.