Where Have All the Porches Gone?
If you’ve been here at Life, for instance before you know I call this place the “LFI porch”. It’s a virtual gathering place where we come together to relax and share our thoughts.
Has anybody else noticed that we don’t have front porches anymore? Instead we have decks, back decks, with high walls. What’s up with that?
I have always loved front porches because there you can sit with your tea or coffee and see the neighbours walking by, sometimes joining you for a visit. When you spend time on the front porch you feel connected to the neighbours, even if you only wave to them as they drive by.
I’m a bit of a romantic, nostalgic for the time when front porches were a standard part of a home, like the days so well recounted in Ray Bradbury’s stories in Dandelion Wine. The stories date back to 1928 and I know times have changed but I still feel the loss of the porch with a sense of poignancy. Why have we abandoned the porch?
We haven’t only abandoned the front porch; we have replaced it with the back deck. Why? Are we tired because we are so busy these days? Have we stopped caring about our neighbours? When we’re on the back deck and the neighbours go by we don’t see them. We aren’t connected to the neighbourhood; we’re literally apart from it. How can we live in community with the people in the rest of the world when we don’t live in community with the people who live near to us?
A friend mentioned in a post recently that he liked Halloween; “it feels like one of the very few moments we see neighbours open their doors and walk around the neighbourhood.” At Halloween we feel a sense of community with our neighbours.
It’s the reason I love the aftermath of a snowstorm. When you’re outside shovelling in the cold stillness of the evening and you see your neighbours doing the same there’s a feeling of “we’re all in this together”. Strange, isn’t it, that it takes Halloween or a snowstorm to make us feel like neighbours.
Do you have a front porch? Do you feel connected to your neighbours? What do you think happened to our porches?
Photo Credit: John T. Howard