They say that we live life at a little slower pace here in the south.

I’d like to know who created that idea, because I certainly don’t find it true for myself, or really, the majority of the people I know. I don’t even have all that much going on now that I’m finished with school – not like before, anyway – and most days I still feel just as busy as I ever did.

It’s very hard for people with my personality type to slow down. What can I say? I am my father’s daughter. I try to do everything and then some, I find myself rushing through showers, through meals, through anything that requires me to be still for any length of time. I think that’s one reason I like to blog – it forces me to be still. Be quiet. Stop. Think. Reflect.

And it’s upon this reflection that I decided what is lacking in my life: a porch.

Porches are why people think that southerners live a slower-paced life. But how often do you actually see anyone sitting on those porches anymore?

So, you may say, “Well there you go – even if you had a porch, you wouldn’t sit on it.”

But I disagree. I think the inviting nature of porch-sitting could entice me like nothing else. I DO have a patio, and I enjoy sitting on it in the warmer weather. But there’s something about a porch. A rocker or a swing sitting underneath a covered outdoor space, just calling out to be enjoyed.

I have a lot of good memories of porches. And continue to make more. My cousins and I loaded down the swing at my grandparents’ house on many occasions – eventually breaking it. But when it got to dark to play in the yard or the woods, our parents would inevitably call out, “You kids stay on the porch.” And there we would stay. Listening to the bug zapper kill mosquitoes, hear the quiet murmur of talking from the adults in the house, waiting to see who would go where and if we would get to spend the night with someone that night and what time they’d be back to play tomorrow.

The porch of my early childhood home seemed like it was 20 feet off the ground to my little self, but in actuality was probably more like 4. I would leap off it with such attitude – “Look what I can do!” It was from this porch that I saw my first Oklahoma dust-storm. It was from this porch I saw many newly fallen drifts of snow. And it was from this porch that I walked away to a new home in Mississippi.

The porch of my later childhood is now where I sit and watch my daughter and niece and nephews playing in the yard or shooting fireworks or hunting Easter eggs, but it was once where my dad would sit and clap after I finished playing a piece on the piano inside the house. It was where I sat with my daughter after Katrina blew in and we would take a cold bath and then sit in the humid evening air and swing to feel the breeze. It was where I walked away into adulthood but still come back for the love and advice and wisdom of home.

I’ve sat on a lot of porches in my lifetime – played on even more – and I think that I need more porch time in my life. If not in actuality, at least figuratively. Slowing down is so hard for me. But that’s not an excuse, it’s a reason. Because some of the best times of my life have been spent on porches.

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