For our Doodlewash prompt of “Porch,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Swing,” I opted for this completely imagined scene, yet another thing outside my comfort zone. I used to live in a house with a front porch, complete with a porch swing for a number of years and adored it. It was a little bungalow built in 1924 and had a large covered porch across the entire front of the house. Sitting on a the porch swing in front, I would wave at passing neighbors and get an occasional visit from a neighbor’s cat. It was such a friendly and wonderful setting. This also meant that I actually met my neighbors more often, and more often than not, would end up on their porch to sit and chat for a time as well. The front porch was a neutral space, away from the private space of the home’s interior. In these older homes, the porch was built intentionally to bring communities of people together. Soon, newer homes shrank the porch to simply a few steps leading up to the door. If you wanted to say hello, you had to knock first. I miss having a home like this, and since Philippe has never lived in a standalone house in his entire life, I think there just might be a porch swing in our future.
What I loved about the front porch was that it challenged my typically introverted nature. I wasn’t hiding on a deck at the back of the house surrounded by additional fencing, but right there in front. Even door-to-door solicitors were somehow less irritating. I’d often chat with them before declining whatever offer they were presenting, of course. But, I’d take the time to connect.
The porch seemed to invite friendliness and openness. Had they knocked on my door, I would have had that familiar feeling of intrusion. But the porch was perfectly neutral without that tedious door creating a psychological barrier between private and public. There were no houses like this in the neighborhood that I grew up in. Perhaps that’s why I adored Halloween so much as a kid. One time a year, you got permission to boldly walk up to someone’s house and get a glimpse of the people inside. Yeah, and the candy. Definitely the candy.
Saturday is Philippe’s birthday and, on this same day, our neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods are holding a Porchfest. Though we live in a newer row home, there are indeed much older homes in our area that still have large front porches. We’d seen signs posted, but they weren’t very descriptive so we had no idea what it was all about. Apparently, it’s a music festival boasting 150 regional bands on 68 front porches, so it sounds rather intriguing. We might just have to have a stroll and check things out. Beyond the actual porches, there’s also going to be three stages set up in the historic cemetery that our home overlooks. Though there was a little note on their website discouraging people from bringing pets. Not that Phineas would enjoy it, anyway, as he dislikes crowds even more than we do. He gets nervous and tends to pee everywhere. Thankfully for Philippe and I, our own shy condition hasn’t advanced to this stage yet. But, I adore the concept of this event. It’s nice to know that in the age of smartphones and constantly swiping to connect, there’s still an interest in preserving those more old-fashioned was to connect, like the joys that can be found in front porch culture.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!