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Outdoors: Forget the Stimulus Checks; Just Give Us All Front Porches

Steve Gilliland
Special to the Globe

Ranking right up there with man’s greatest accomplishments like five-gallon buckets, Ziploc bags and double stuff Oreos has to be the front porch.

Call them stoops, decks, verandas or whatever else you please, the front porch is crucial in maintaining life as we know it.

My brother’s secluded cabin in the middle of a couple hundred acres of southeastern Ohio woods sports a splendid front porch of 50-feet or more that spans the entire length of their cabin; its suspended 10-feet above the driveway below, and even higher above the gurgling creek beyond.

From that front porch the coming day is planned and the completed day is discussed. From it, deer, turkey, pig and mushroom hunts are designed in advance, and successes or failures of each are analyzed later. I believe it to be the premier bird watching platform in the state.

From there, innumerable species of song birds are seen and heard as they visit the porches many feeders, and geese and wood ducks call as they fly back and forth through the valley below.

Most nights find someone on the front porch well into the darkness listening for the coyote howls that echo eerily through the surrounding hills, and hoping to be serenaded by the several varieties of owls calling the forest home.

Besides the usual accumulation of comfy chairs, a barbecue grill and bird feeders, my brother’s front porch offers some very unique but necessary furnishings.

A couple empty Pringles cans, now repurposed as arrow holders are fastened to porch posts. There are several bow hunters in the family, so the cans hold the variety of different arrows necessary to cover every possible target, whether it be chipmunks, squirrels or coons at the deer feeder along the creek, a simple archery target in the meadow or “Bucky” the deer decoy prominently situated on the hillside below.

Another feature possibly unique to this front porch is an assortment of tennis and badminton rackets hung from nails on the posts.

As temperatures warm, large wood bees and big bumble bees seem to flock to the porch, and nothing zings them across the porch railing like a well placed shot from a badminton racket.

When the family’s all present, this “bee batting” quickly turns into a competition.

Yes, there’s just something about sitting on a front porch with a cold glass of ice tea or lemonade that brings calmness and clarity to the world around us, and boy howdy do we need buckets full of calmness and clarity right now.

Maybe congress should meet on a front porch somewhere (I’m just sayin’!) And I can’t help but think that if world summits were held on someone’s front porch, the world would be a better place for it; any grievances could be settled on the spot with badminton rackets. And of course, it would help immensely if the front porch, like my brothers, was smack in the middle of God’s creation…I think Joyce said it best when she observed “I have a feeling this is what Heaven will be like – one huge front porch full of rocking chairs.”

Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!

Steve can be contacted by email at stevenrgilliland@gmail.com