Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Front Porch

To anyone else it might seem just like an ordinary house out in the country. Some folks driving down the seldom traveled road might say, “ Oh look at how nicely that house is landscaped,” or " Wow, those people have a sheep pasture in front of their house.” But for myself, this place is one of the two places I call HOME.

This is my parent’s house. I didn’t grow up here, in fact it wasn’t even built until 1997 and I had already had two children by then. My childhood home is two towns away and I have really wonderful memories of growing up there in the woods, by the pond. But this is the home of my adult-hood. My mom and dad have somehow made it a special place for my brother and sisters and I along with all of our children.

Just as most homes have a gathering place, this one does also. It isn’t the kitchen as you might expect, it’s the front porch. There is plenty of room for everyone to stretch out (when it’s warm out!) and lots of seating. As I look back I can see my parents, brother sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all kinds of neighbors gathered here for just as many different kinds of occasions. The kids flock out to the yard for pick up football games, examining the creek for frogs and snakes, or just to have a catch with the baseball. There’s a nice breeze that comes from the west and keeps it cool even on the hottest summer day and when evening comes the sunsets can take your breath away.

This is where we discuss things. Sometimes the conversations are full of teasing and laughs. The cicadas chirping are the background music to all the talking and the birds sing along as we reminisce about earlier times or joke about how goofy the kids are acting. The circle of life goes on all around us. Bees circle the flowers my mom has lovingly planted and tended, sheep quietly graze in the pastures surrounding the yard, and corn and bean crops grow as far as the eyes can see.

There are also a lot of serious conversations that happen here. Big and small decisions have been made here by all of us. We all closely listen to the wise counsel of my dad and the loving reassurance from my mom. We teach the kids about life, morals, and love in this place. We try to help them to know all the things life might bring. It somehow seems easier to do here because there is a peace surrounding this porch that we don’t find at home. There are no distractions, no tv, no computers or video games. There is just the comfort of the porch swing and nature all around, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

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