I have always loved front porches. You can ask my husband and children. If Granny comes up missing, look to the rocker just outside the door. When the weather is nice, I may take a book and a cup of tea out there, but even during a thunderstorm, it’s the perfect spot to stay in touch with what’s happening in the real world. There’s just enough shelter to protect me from the elements, and a couple of quick steps bring me back to the safety of the house.
At the beginning of a new year, we think a lot about entrances, beginnings. The old custom of a groom carrying his bride across the threshold is a classic symbol of a fresh start. From what I can glean from my research, the threshold originated as a board inside the door of the house. Apparently, the refuse from processing (threshing) grain was used on the earthen floors to keep them from becoming a muddy mess. Carrying the bride not only protected her from tripping, but also from sullying her pretty shoes and wedding dress. It was one more way for her new husband to show his deference and concern.
Some of my fondest memories have to do with beginnings. I can recall minute details of the day we got married, the day each of our children was born, the day we moved into our new house. Maybe the reason those memories stick is because our emotions were at their peak. There was a little bit of fear and uncertainty mixed with jubilation and pride. It was exhilarating to be in that place of imminent change. As each milestone passed, and new became ordinary, the next experience or challenge waited in the wings, and the excitement returned.
The view from my rocker is reminiscent of my growing up years. Kids riding bikes and skating on the sidewalks, Moms and Dads unloading groceries, the neighborhood cat making his rounds. I feel almost invisible as I observe, peacefully soaking it all in. A recent country song takes a different angle, as the writer explains “the view I love the most is from my front porch looking in.”
As 2009 begins, we get a chance to start anew. We can stop at the threshold for just a moment and look back. Most likely, there are both good and bad memories from the past year. Many things probably didn’t turn out as we expected. But, looking ahead, we can gather strength from what we’ve learned, and valiantly step over.
From my in-laws front porch, you look directly out at Thornburg Mountain. It’s amazing to consider the beauty of God’s creation, and we are so grateful to have such wonderful vistas close by. But, to experience the beauty of nature, we must venture out occasionally. Feel the breeze on our faces, listen to the blessed silence. Don’t be afraid this year to get out and enjoy the amazing sights and activities available in the Ouachita area. When you’re home again, take a deep breath, and relax. If you don’t have a porch of your own, check this space each month. I plan to be right here, sharing the view from mine, and looking forward to crossing that next threshold.