“Come on. We have nothing else to do today.” My husband begged to take the kids to look at the Horses for Sale. He had spotted the posted sign while we were on a Memorial Day getaway.
An hour later, the owner met us at his field where we talked horses while the kids pushed tall grasses through the fence. They’d squeal with delight at the thrill of having the massive animal’s agile, soft lips pull the shoots from their little hands.
What started out as an innocent way to spend an afternoon, became a pivotal moment in our family’s life. We lay awake for hours that night, talking about our desire to give our children the love for animals, strong work ethic, and space to run that horse ownership requires.
Knowing we couldn’t keep a large animal on our current homestead of .17 acres, we started the online search for horse property. Within seconds, up popped that-house-with-the-porch. It was the one I used to run past and think “If I could have any house in town, it would be that one.”
The inside of the home needed updating, but the bones of this southern-charmer were undeniably beautiful. Everyone agreed that those bones were greatly enhanced by the wrap-around porch running along three sides.
Over the next few months, we purchased the home, remodeled the main floor, bought our first horse “Dash” to live out back, and settled in. Our first family photo in that house was of all 7 of us crowded onto the freshly-painted porch swing, bundled up in turtlenecks and sweaters. It graced our Christmas card that year.
The porch quickly became my favorite room in the house. From it I’d set a glass of ice water to my side, tuck my feet under me on the couch and answer the calls to watch a of tug-of-war with our bulldog Jeeves, a new trick on the trampoline, a rowdy game of Frisbee between a group of teenage boys, or my daughter dancing at night with lit sparklers hand.
From that corner of my world I could see the retired school teacher leisurely pedal her beach cruiser around the neighborhood. I’d call hello and wave to the neighbor who was being pulled along on a leash by his massive dog. I’d squint and try to identify which family the kids on scooters belonged to. The crunch of car tires on our gravel driveway would alert me that someone had arrived, long before I’d pull my nose out of a book to see who it was.
In the early light of morning I’d sneak out to the porch to putter around and arrange things to my liking:
display the nation’s flag,
water the potted palms,
shoo the cat off the cushioned swivel rockers
plump that season’s throw pillows
straighten the wreath on the front door,
then do a few needed sun salutations to shake off the sleepiness.
This space regularly offered a momentary escape when life became too loud or overwhelming inside. I’d step onto it to cool down after a disagreement. It provided a perfect place for a few minutes of uninterrupted journal writing. It was the natural choice for a private phone conversation with a friend.
As a family, any time we’d carry our plates of food out to the porch, mealtime was instantly elevated to picnic status. And the kids loved it. We’d sit on the steps, perch up on the railing, or score a seat on the porch furniture, all prepped and ready to swap stories and share inside-jokes. Those long evenings of conversation came about as we’d separated ourselves from the technology and chores waiting inside to disturb our peace. It’s as if stepping out onto the porch transported us into a different world--a world of connection and leisure.
It’s true that my view from the porch is of a wide expanse of green lawn, aspens and pines, a neighborhood filled with kind and generous people, and the stunning Wasatch Mountains. But the view I have come to appreciate the most is the one of a life filled to overflowing with customized blessings and contentment.