Under the Porch

I live in a green house on College Ave. I think I like living in a house. There are very few alternatives, but out of the options on campus the houses are distinctly preferable to Holden. I’ve been inside Holden before to move someone out and in the hour or so I spent moving things from one floor to the entrance, I, for the first time, understood what it was like to feel trapped in a place. For me, someone whose schedule and interests rarely permit her to leave her desk, a porch is a rare pleasure. It is a gift, I think, to sit on a porch in the rain. Able to listen to the world and feel the cool air swirling around you, and keep your socks dry at the same time. It’s nice inside, but its not the same. You can’t feel the shifts in temperature in the air. You can’t smell the rain as it falls. It’s too distant to remove yourself from your work.

My freshman year I got rain boots that were a size too small. When Autumn came, and the rain was too cold to justify walking out in my flip-flops, I would pull on my rain coat, squeeze my feet into those rain boots, and sit out in the courtyard to listen to the rain. I looked ridiculous. The knees and the seat of my pants were soaked through from how I was sitting, leaving me cold and uncomfortable. People walked by on their way to swipe into the dorm, giving me a questioning look. And granted I felt ridiculous. So I would often get up and start walking. There are brick paths all around this school, marred with holes from where seniors have pulled out their souvenirs. I got to know them well on my walks, and I learned how to side step the hydroplane from oncoming traffic (the roads, it seems are worse than the paths).

I think it’s human nature to want shelter. No one wants wet socks. But a porch is a liminal shelter. It allows for a more complete immersion into an aesthetically natural environment. The shallow end of the pool where you can dip your toes in–or simply hang your legs over the side into.