Monday, February 6, 2012

Porches

I decided today that my house will have a porch. It will also have a lemon or an orange tree, but that's more negotiable. So is the ivy that I would have growing on the walls, even on the front. Even if it's small or unceremonious, the porch will be there.

I decided all of this on one of the many walks I now find myself taking. I love going on walks because of what they signify. It is a survival mechanism. It is simple and raw.

Walks remind me of all sorts of things, but right now I'm remembering rarely using a car in Europe, following my feet down cobblestones, along rivers and down quiet streets to class or to one of the dozens of coffee shops. I'm also remembering the walks taken over holiday breaks with my father, casually strolling around our neighborhood talking about all sorts of things. He goes on about running, economics, religion and politics--the light stuff. I try to soak his knowledge in.

Walking here in Santa Clara is beautiful, especially on a day like today where winter is off punished in a corner and spring comes out from behind her hiding place to brag. Headphones would be blasphemous. I'll take the rolling car tires, the rustling leaves, the quiet footsteps of others, and the singing birds instead. I'll listen to all of these. I'll also listen to the chattering ideas in my head.

Today they were telling me that my house will have a porch. I love the thought of one--of sitting outside lazily with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, a robust glass of red wine, homemade lemonade, or amber beer. I'll sit with a friend, with a love, with a child, by myself. Just sitting and chatting, or sitting and watching, or sitting and dozing, or sitting and reading, or sitting and thinking...or just sitting. Watching the sunrise, the sunset, the stars overhead. Not watching anything at all.

That's what I'll do. And that's what I picture when I see a porch. The dozens of porches I pass on my walk don't seem to show what I see in my head. Most are dusty or synthetic, displaying furniture that's never been used or candles that have never been lit. My cushions would be sunken in. My candle wicks would be black and fringed. A porch is about community. Even when you are there by yourself, you're connecting to the outside world. You're saying: Hey, a human being lives here. And most times, that's enough.