I have sat here, cried here, said goodbye here. Those boards have heard many a tale. On that porch we all stood looking up at that gigantic full moon, ringed with a golden halo, the night Mom died. All silently lost in thought, gazing up at that moon. Remembering, and feeling like she was almost standing there with us.
For this was her porch. It was her sanctuary. A few years before she died, her and Dad decided to put back a full porch on the front of the house – to replace the insignificant and crumbling fieldstone front steps. Afterwards she created the pond, and the waterfall, and many a night her and Dad spent sitting side by side in the handcrafted Muskoka Chairs. After Mom built that pond she no longer wanted to go places, see new things. She fussed and planted, worried and put her whole heart into the gardens and the pond. She had found her happiness. So that porch became an extension of this sanctuary she had created for herself.
From that porch more sisters will share and learn to value one another, more Dad’s will stand at the railing and look out onto the river, more Mom’s will sit with a book and glass of wine and thank God for peace and quiet.
Friends will gather, drinks will be spilled, songs sung, serious talks had, and more full moons will hang in that sky and illuminate that Porch. This sanctuary, this sacred space my Mom built, will bless us, nurture us, quiet us, silence our fears and dry our tears.
Our Great Great Aunt Jen (Judith Jane) must have sat on that old wooden porch, looking out onto her garden and down to the river. Many of the old hosta’s, Iris’, bulbs, shrubs and trees planted here today, were planted by her. She never married and was a Registered Nurse who was fortunate to be able to practice right here in this house; she cared for a special needs child of a wealthy Toronto Family.
This porch has shaded us, comforted us, and gave us a stage from which to view the river running past. It has provided shelter from the rain, and a place to get away to, to escape to.
No front porches. My uncle says there used to be front porches. And people sat there sometimes at night, talking when they wanted to talk, rocking, and not talking when they didn’t want to talk. Sometimes they just sat there and thought about things, turned things over. My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn’t look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn’t want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong KIND of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches.
~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 ~