I am writing this on my front porch—one of the favourite parts of my house.
It’s sunny and hot today, but the shade on this covered front porch keeps me cool. Bumblebees buzz around my bergamot, and blue jays chatter in the distance. My dog, curled up beside me, sniffs the air. Our chipmunk scurries around the side of the house, keeping a respectful distance from the dog.
My neighbour walked by with his dog. He stopped to chat for a while. (My neighbour, not the dog.) Because of this front porch I know people in the neighbourhood. I know who lives where, and I know the names of their children or their dogs. People driving by or walking down the street see our family on this porch. I write here. My husband and I sit here for happy hour drinks before dinner. Friends join us here for appetizers and chats. We sit and watch the drama of thunderstorms from the protection of our front porch roof. On sunny February days, we return from a day on the ski slopes, leave our ski clothing on and enjoy a post-ski beer in the fresh air and the sun.
My front porch makes me feel rich beyond measure, and I feel sorry for people who don’t have them.
Housing trends in recent decades led to houses crammed together on tiny lots with garages jutting out in front of the home. People have taken to hiding in fenced or hedged back yards. They have little connection to their neighbourhoods. Sad.
Yesterday my dog and I headed out for our usual afternoon walk. At a house on the next block, people were working in front of their house installing a front porch.
I smiled. Another convert.
Dear real estate developers: Consider adding some front porches to your designs. The homeowners and the neighbourhoods will be much happier as a result.