Slowly, with white wicker chairs and hardy cushions; potted plants and creaky porch swings; wooden railings and seasonal flags, American front porches are mounting a comeback, at least in our neck of the woods.
From our own front porch we can clink sweating glasses to toast brand new babies, baseball trophies and proud rescue pups. Feet propped on an old metal table, we greet strolling neighbors and give honking cars an admittedly blind wave.
August offers halcyon days for porch sitters like us, the sweet relief of petunia scented breezes and golden brilliance of fiery sunsets.
Once, all front porches enjoyed duke status in their homes, an outdoor living room on lazy, lemonade Sundays and social hot spot on steamy summer nights.
Then, with startling speed, modern miracles drew people indoors — air conditioning, television, the Internet. Each advance saw neighbors retreat.
I took a walk this weekend, though, and saw signs of a front porch renaissance.
A young man sat on a wooden swing, one leg up and the other anchoring his slow, steady swing. He strummed a guitar and worked out a tune.
On another porch, I saw a table for a meal, with four chairs crowded around.
Down the road, a music stand stood next to a borrowed kitchen chair, while on the railing swung a wooden sign offering music lessons for a fee.
I saw beautiful tableaux of purple flowers, green plants and white wooden rails, wrap around porches that hugged stately old homes, and small cottage spots with just enough room for a two-seater — a love seat, if you will.
If you’re lucky enough to have a front porch, for Pete’s sake get out there and use it. Plop down on the stoop, or a hammock or folding chair. Set a spell, read a book, work a crossword puzzle and chat with the people passing by.
Enjoy the satisfying, friendly thrill of a beautiful day in your neighborhood.
Stoop sitters of the America, unite!
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