Ask me what I did on my recent trip to visit my dad and I’ll tell you I spent a large part of the last week just porch sitting. Not jetting from activity one to activity two and so on, like I will be next week and the next, but just porch sitting. That activity, or lack of, brought back fond memories of summer Sunday afternoon visits to the grandparents, where the company, rocking chairs, and cold glasses of sweet iced tea were the only accessories needed to style a perfectly sublime afternoon spent with those folks who mattered most.
One set of grandparents had a main street front porch, where the comings and goings of the whole town was ripe for attending to. In that small, western Virginia town of only around 2000 residents today, the population in the 1960s was even more Mayberryesque. Weather was observed and speculated on and stories were passed down and sometimes stretched out a tad. Practically every aspect of family life was shared, celebrated, and mourned on those front porches.
Not much that didn’t belong came through that town without notice, and not very much happened in the life of a resident without the rest of the town taking notice of it, all from the front porch. After which, your momma called my momma on the party line while Miss Jean listened and so it went. But it was all good. People took care of their own and others. Lives got lived a lot more slowly in those days and the porch sitting I did this past week reminded me of just how wonderfully medicinal it felt to slow it down and live my life just a little more unhurried for a while.
In the place I call home today not too many homes have front porches and our own back porch languidly longs for sitters three quarters of the year or more. Tropical plants and stylish outdoor lounging furniture are beckoning us, but it’s hotter than Hades out there right now and you couldn’t even pay me enough to porch sit. Well, maybe… if Howie Long was out there. Sorry Hubs, but you know the deal there! ❤
On my dad’s front porch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, he and I talked some and then we didn’t talk some, with both periods of time passing equally comfortably between us. Our company was increased periodically by hummingbirds, wild turkeys, rabbits, squirrels and deer, all coming within about 30 feet of the chairs we rocked in. A chorus of cicadas, making their appearance after spending 17 years underground, rang out almost constantly in the background as they attempted to attract mates and continue the cicada cycle. The natural world provided not only the densely forested landscape, interrupted only by distant majestic, cerulean peaks, but also gave us a background symphony, as acorns skittered across the tin roofed gazebo, a choir of songbirds trilled, chirped and serenaded, covert owls hooted, ghost branches snapped, bees droned and fitfully frightened turkeys flapped away hastily with every opening of the screen door. Although it was just Dad and I, it seemed that every living thing was hearkening our attention to the marvels surrounding us.
At one point my dad said he’d thought about taking me somewhere to see something else, but he couldn’t think of any other place that would be any better, and truthfully I couldn’t either. For me, the time we spent there on that porch was almost sedative like, not in a narcotic, numbing way, but more like a restorative balm on my soul. It didn’t matter what we talked about or didn’t, what mattered this past week, just as it did way back when was that we were there together and not anywhere else more important.
You may not have a front porch to sit on, but no matter where you are there’s something for you to marvel at and someone that you need to sit with. There’s someone that matters and whom you matter to, someone that will remember fondly those minutes or hours spent with you, wherever that might be.
Peace and Love