Lila James - September 29, 2022
Never moving, but the heart of everything moving about it; never feeling, but somehow connecting with all who pass through; never making a sound, but still making its presence known—that small front porch can hide in the shadows or bask in the sunlight, but it will never be forgotten.
A little brunette girl, no more than five years old, steps out of the house barefoot, the concrete catching her small feet as she dashes down the steps of the porch. Watching her run, the porch looks out upon fresh spring grass. It feels the cool spring breeze. The soft smell of honeysuckle bushes hangs in the air. The girl runs back, now with a blonde older girl of maybe eight years old, each with a wad of flowers tucked gently in their fists. The sisters collapse giggling onto the cool porch eating the sweet nectar, making memories they’ll remember forever. This porch now has a responsibility. It will be their hideaway from the outside world that peers in, begging to steal the innocence of these little ones. It will be their haven.
As the days grow hotter and longer, summer arrives. The gray ground that is the host and entry-point to the house bakes in the beaming sun. Pen-length footprints cross the inescapable path hundreds of times a day, dashing in and out of its conjoined house. Cars drive past, bicycle bells ring, the neighbor children play and sing. All the while, the porch observes this life moving about: the chaos, the motion, the rhythm. And here come its girls again. Skipping along without worry or care, the brunette falls. Her older sister carries her to the porch, caring for her like a mother. Knees gashed from the rocks and dirt, the brunette lies on her gurney awaiting treatment from her nurse. After she’s healed, it’s as if nothing has happened and the excitement resumes. Running inside, the girls aren’t seen for a while until the patter of feet and the drip of kiwi juice are felt sizzling on the ground. The porch witnesses in wonder as the girls plop freely down onto the steps, both with a fresh kiwi in their hand. Sinking their teeth into its sweet tartness without a care in the world, juice runs down their ruffled sundresses. These are the days everyone lives for.
Just like that, the fire in the sky turns into the color of fall leaves as they flutter from the trees. Waiting to greet them at the end of the sidewalk, the porch sees the girls running toward the house, arms loaded with pumpkins. These will soon adorn the porch, which gazes out to the yard, now a blanket of leaves. It watches as the girls rake up piles for dancing and jumping into—some just as tall as the girls. This goes on for hours until dusk when there is only a slight glow left upon the endless horizon. Their laughter echoes off its walls and the porch discovers true happiness. It knows that the littlest of things are what make the purest of hearts content, as long as it is in the presence of good company. That is what the porch longs for.
The snow starts to fall and winter makes its entrance. Sitting content, the small porch embraces the white wonderland before it. The snow reflects off the white door of the house as it bursts open with the blonde and the brunette rushing through, stomping on the icy ground. All bundled up, they breathe puffs of heat into the frigid air as they run out. The porch watches as each collapses in the powdered snow, and the angels leave their imprint in nature’s soft cushion. After playing in the snow, the porch embraces the kids while they sip hot cocoa in cups that warm the chill from their hands. This will always be their oasis.
The porch knows that someday the ones it has watched for so many years will move on. But in every season of life, there is always a longing for purpose and comfort. The porch has found its family, its purpose. It's a refuge for the girls—and likewise, the girls are its home. They may not understand now, but when the girls are grown and have moved on, the memories and lessons learned here will never be forgotten. Without any words or movement or sound, it has passed on its comfort and care and loyalty and devotion to the well-being of its girls. Never to be forgotten, the porch is their sanctuary.