view from the porch

Posted on April 22, 2006


view from the porch

View from the Porch

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

I love the porch.

From the porch,

I can watch the neighbors squabble, converse, marry, divorce, have kids, yell at the kids.

From the porch, I can watch the derelict stumble down the street, again. But this time he winds up becoming a pile of rags in my neighbor’s driveway. I watch as the fire trucks arrive before the ambulance, as usual. I listen as the fireman calls the man by name, familiar with his stumblings, and then away he goes in the ambulance.

From the porch, I even heard the explosion as a van in the alley erupted in flames.

From the porch, I talked to the cop that was “investigating” the drunk driver hit and run at three o’clock in the morning. $3000 damage to two vehicles . . . one was ours.

It has been an exciting spring, from the porch on Calvin Street.

From the porch, we can watch life go by.

From the porch, we can know what is happening in our community.

From the porch, we catch the latest neighborhood gossip.

From the porch, we can stay aware, from a distance, of what is happening in our world.

The porch is safe.

I can be an observer.

I love my porch.

It is amazing how much I can see . . . but not do . . . from my porch.

From my porch, I’m not much of a participant, not much of a doer, definitely not an activist in my community.

The porch is safe, though.

I can be an undisturbed observer.

I love my porch.

When I lived in the ‘burbs, in two years, I never met the neighbors. We came home, opened the garage door automatically, slid into my stall quietly, closed the door automatically, and entered the house through the door, where the garage attaches to the house. It was nice. No neighbors arguing, conversing, marrying, divorcing, yelling at the kids. It’s like there were no neighbors.

WAIT JUST A MINUTE. What happened to the porches? There were none! Even though I didn’t really get involved from my porch, I could be an observer, I could pay attention, I could be aware.

What now? No porches . . .

From involvement and activism

To observation and safety

To the turning away . . .