Where is your happy place? Everyone needs a little haven where they can escape to relax, slow down and decompress. I found mine in a place that surprised me, on our little screen porch in the backyard.
When we bought our new house, we knew it had a screen porch on the back. It was just a wood floor with posts with screens on three sides, nothing fancy. The porch was no more than an afterthought for us, certainly not part of our decision to buy the house. I thought it might be a good place to park dirty shoes, or put extra fireplace logs.
When we moved in, someone put a couple of lawn chairs out there, and we found ourselves sitting outside almost every night. Then we added a little table and it became the place where we had a drink and a snack, and eventually, dinner. Never having had a porch before, we had no idea how much we would love it.
This summer we splurged on a couple of gliding Adirondack chairs. We installed a ceiling fan and a Iight. Colorful throw pillows, flowers and a rug warmed up the space. What was once a back entryway has become a living room.
On the porch we can hear the train whistles in the distance, calling as if from another era. We hear the birds rustling before they settle in for the night and the squirrels scampering along the tree branches. The sound of the boat whistle across the lake, summoning boaters to return to shore just before sunset, has become my favorite sound. Mostly, we hear each other as we sit on the porch and talk. Porches, I have discovered, are very conducive to conversation.
Our porch is now our favorite place. My husband can’t get over the peace and stillness, even though we are in the midst of a city. I relish being able to be outside without the threat of mosquitoes. Never much of an outdoor girl, I take my laptop out on the porch with fresh air and breezes to cool me as I work. My cats lounge lazily, following the sunlight as it moves across the floor. We work, we read, and we laugh.
Our porch has become a symbol of everything we hoped for when we gave up our big house in the country and moved to the city (you can read that story here). We wanted to spend more time together. We wanted to celebrate birthdays and other events with family and friends. We wanted to stop working crazy long hours, and relax in the evening. We have done all of that, and more, on the porch.
Relaxing and doing nothing does not come easily to us, our German work ethic is deeply instilled. Yet we can’t resist the lure of the porch, harkening to a by-gone era at the same time as it forces us to live in the present moment. The porch calls to us, “throw a lime wedge into a bottle of Corona and come and sit awhile.”
I give in. It is a voice worth listening to.