Porch Hangin'

                                                     

Porch hangin': (verb) the conjuring of people gathering on porches and yards at the slightest hint of warm weather, and block conversations and community-building with neighbors, and music, laughter, and news filling the air.

I suppose you could call porch hangin' the social thermometer of the seasons. The minute the weather warms, porches become gathering spots for friends and neighbors. One can easily spot a friendly wave or a cigarette in hand. People are sweeping or working on cars out front. Caribbean beats parallel the humming pulse of excitement that spring and summer bring. 

There is an evolution of the porches that happens. A sprucing up and coming into bloom as the seasons progress. Wreaths appear, and chairs with brightly colored cushions, and leafy green plants. Each porch transforms into an oasis for the people in the home. 

Our porch is no different. She's pretty ordinary at first look. Black wrought-iron railing, and a chipping concrete base. Open on three sides with a backbone of brick. Turquoise numbers and a painted lemon "Welcome" rug add pops of color. 

As soon as I can in the spring, I'm out on the porch with my cup of coffee, watching and waving. I'll admit it, I'm a nosey neighbor. I like to know what is going on where, and who is up to what. I ask lots of questions and my increased time on the porch produces plenty of neighbor news. 

My container garden got planted on and around the porch so a tomato plant is working its way up a skinny PVC pipe I shoved into the dirt at its feet and tiny green tomatoes are forming. But to be honest, now I'm a little worried because my beautiful blooming tomato plant is looking sickly and a tomato farming expert I am not. As of the other day, two more baby tomato plants joined our garden and were rehomed in containers. Another clay pot holds basil, which adds the perfect pizazz to flatbreads, lemonade, and dressings. 

Very few days go by that we don't make it onto the porch at least for a quick conversation. Jael giggles and hollers and waves as the neighbor kids come out to play. Practicing words and language as we see "p-p-PUP-pies" scamper up the sidewalk. At some point in June, friends got Jael a Monstera leaf splash pad that often garnishes the yard or porch railing with its bright green style, dressing the porch in between showering the children. The $25 water table I scooped up from Aldi is full of plastic toys I don't want in the house, and hey, it's a little tacky, but the blue color sort of matches my letters, right? 

Music and conversations across the yard with the neighbors fill the space with pleasant noise. Often, I watch the ants march across the concrete, busily working and carrying food scraps, as I try to write or pray or read with a cup of coffee. Persistent and stealing the scraps we can get, the ants and I. Chalk time - been there, done that, washed it off. Occasionally eaten (not me, hopefully obviously). Our 80-year-old neighbors eagerly come out to high five Jael when they spot us porch-hangin'.

A quick way to add a little magic is keep a throw patchwork quilt, whip it out, and create a whimsical picnic setting in the evenings.

The porch is where the ordinary, everyday magic happens. 

I heard one time that the state of your house reflects the state of your mind. In a similar fashion, porch hangin' is revealing what priorities are in my heart and how consistency is key, even in small deposits at a time. 

Here is what I know for sure about porch life symbolism -  

  • I'm working on building my faith foundation as solid as the gray concrete porch floor. I've been enjoying the She Reads Truth study on the Gospel of Mark, a beautiful reminder of the miracles that following Jesus and being obedient lead to. 
  • I'm playing and laughing, in the water table, on our makeshift dance floor, wherever!
  • I'm studying and practicing growth and nurturing as I water my container garden and try to figure out what's wrong with my big tomato plant. 
  • I'm speaking the language of spontaneity with patchwork quilt picnics. 
  • I'm committing to community when I make space to have chats with the neighbors throughout my day. 
  • Gateways are a big deal. Nothing enters our home without crossing the threshold of the porch, the physical gatekeeper. The Lord is our spiritual gatekeeper -- "The Lord will protect my coming and going both now and forever more" (Psalm 121:8). I am an emotional gatekeeper for our home - protecting what comes in and out of it.

I'm thankful for the daily reminder of these things as I rest on the porch. Here's to more porch hangin' as summer continues and then transitions into fall. The porch shifts, and so do I.



This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series "Ordinary Inspiration".



Comments

  1. Ooh we love our front porch, so I loved this 💛

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    1. Front porches are a gift! Thanks for reading, Molly!

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  2. Rachel NevergallJuly 27, 2022 at 4:10 PM

    "Persistent and stealing the scraps we can get, the ants and I." Well this just jumped right out at me and settled in. I love this and the whole porch life vibe.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachel!! I'm always amazed at what I learn observing what's around me.

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