(Originally written: October 22, 2019)

The porch is worn. The two wooden steps leading up on to it are bowed in the middle and creak when someone thinks about stepping on them. The excuberant steps of children and the steady steps of adults, had polished every inch of the porch with life. The dull, but beautiful, kind of life. The railing is chipped and could use a fresh coat of paint, but there is no one around to do it. If you took your hand and ran the palm over the railing, you’d think you were running the risk of getting a splinter. But you wouldn’t get one. Not from the railing that bordered this porch. This porch doesn’t hurt anyone. 

You’d just feel the texture. The bumps, ridges, valleys, troughs, and the occasional hole. The edges of the railing were sharp when they were first made but they were blunted now. Gentler. Kinder. Because like the porch it was on, the railing had been polished by life as well. Except instead of feet, it was hands that were given the role of sculptor. The hands of children trying to clamber atop the railing and the hands of adults using it as a support to lean on while they looked out into the yard. A yard that had long since overgrown its bounds and was now spreading its embrace to the porch. Grass and weeds leaned their weight against the porch and grew up against it; the tallest weed even managing to sneak its head onto the porch. That’s the farthest the yard got. It had covered the pathway. But not the porch itself. This porch keeps itself dignified. 

The part of the porch just in front of the door showed off just a little more scuffed polish than the rest. The result of the occasional visitor that would step onto the porch, press the doorbell, shuffle around while waiting, and go into the home once invited in. Those occasional visitors that never wandered onto the rest of the porch and so did not impress their path onto it. And so, that part of the porch knew just a little bit more life than the rest of it. What came close to it in maturity, though, is the darkened doorbell. It was given that privilege by the countless fingertips belonging to guests wanting to be let into the home. After the doorbell, is the door itself that had been knocked on by various impatient knuckles. Nothing else came close to surpassing the porch in the knowledge of the people it had served. This porch is wise. 

It no longer smelled of the lumber used to build it. It smelled of the dirt tread upon it. The sweat of a hard day’s work in the summer. The leather of boots tossed off so that feet could breathe. The pies, cakes, sandwiches, chips and drinks that were spilled upon it. The tears brought on by laughter and by ache. The sun that travelled million of miles to rest in its pinewood planks. The moon that cast its gentle care onto it to cool the heat of the day. The wind that brought pollen and seeds. The snow and its promises of cozy nights by the fireplace. And finally, the porch smelled of the rain that came to wash away the past and leave fresh ground for the future. The rain never did a complete job of that as the porch did not let it. This porch wants to remember its family.

It does. And it will continue to do so. Though the family it loves has long since gone, the porch remains.