I was driving along a city street today, after getting groceries, noticing that a long row of budget condos or apartments I was passing by had no porches at all. Each had nothing more than a 3-foot square slab of concrete outside the front door.
I started thinking about the people who lived there, maybe waves of tenants moving in and out over the years, who had no place to be in the front of their homes except for their driveways.
I thought about how much joy a simple front porch could mean to these folks, to their sense of connection and community, to their safety even and the ability to get to know their neighbors.
And I felt sad about that. But then I saw this:
Two men, next-door neighbors, sitting outside in the early evening beside their respective front doors, sharing time together. That is what porches are all about. They are a place for us to be at home, but also be in the world.
Rather than sitting in their homes perhaps isolated or bored or watching TV, these men knew instinctively what to do: Grab a chair. Go outside. Talk to your neighbor.
Of course, it’s great to have a proper covered porch, to decorate it with lovely furnishings and plants and delightful iced tea settings and chimes and as much beauty as you can pack into 72 square feet. Great. I get that. I love that.
But this here, one human being connecting with another, that is what is universally known as happiness, contentment, health.
I hope we all have front porches some day. Until then, let’s grab a chair, drag it outside, and connect with our world.