The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

25 July 2013

A Porch, two ways

Stretch, screech, slam

The day is measured by the thud and twang

Open and close

Of the old screen door.

Run, leap, sneak

The years pass by with the press of feet

Up and down

The wooden porch stairs.

***   ***

I would buy a house for it's deep front porch and an old, wood-framed screen door.

The porch would be L-shaped, and access both the kitchen off the short leg, and the front hall at the centre of the long leg. There would be thick, curvy corner posts and a substantial balustrade running the lengths, all in glossy white, with here and there dried nodules of paint where the previous owners hadn't caught the drips when they last touched up the faded bits. The main steps from sidewalk to front door are wide, and creak slightly, especially the third from the bottom which sags a little in the middle. The sound of enthusiastic feet thumping up and down those stairs echoes in the empty cavern under the porch, the sound of long summer days when school is out and freedom means adventures, and lemonade under the big oak.

The creaky screen door to the kitchen has a handle just big enough to fit your finger under, and you have to pull hard from outside to open the door. The coiled spring protests rustily and quickly snaps the door shut as soon as you let go. The screen mesh warps from true with the years of hands and elbows and knees pressing against it. The thud and shudder of the door closing can be heard all through the house, and mark the comings and goings of everyone under the roof.

The porch is home to soft summer evenings of iced tea in the swinging chair hanging from the ceiling. It is comic books read laying on your tummy, legs bent and swinging idly behind. It is pumpkins decorating the stairs in the Fall, and twinkle lights cheering the bleak winter nights. This porch welcomes friends and family to come in for fresh ginger cookies with a cup of coffee and a cozy chat. It is cousins playing Go Fish and grown ups sipping beer. It is where dad grills the steaks while mom hulls the strawberries and a cat follows the sun in hour-long naps. It is where we sit to listen to rain from the rockers and wave to our neighbours as they stroll by.

The porch is home.


  1. .. and this post took me home, back through the years, back to porches where neighbors gathered in the evenings. You could tell who was coming and going out of their houses, for you knew the creaks and slams of Larry's door, and Kay's door, and Charlene's...

  2. sigh...
    I was thinking of my Opa's house from my childhood. That to me has always been the ideal. Golly, how I loved that porch and screen door.