Sunday, October 19, 2014

Porch Lights; Throwing Back The Night

One can just imagine the cave man, once he had harnessed the power of fire, inventing the idea of the torch, to be hung at the entrance to the cave to ward off animals of prey.  Perhaps too, the dim light emanating from that torch might also throw back a bit of the darkness and fear of the night time world.

And can you imagine the sense of relief a sailor might have felt, after navigating a rocky and stormy sea, seeing the lighthouse beaming from the bedrock shore?

Our porch lights seemed to serve as a modern day evolvement of those ancient devices.  They say many things, each distinctive to those who reside behind those illuminated globes.  To some a porch light is a welcoming sign; it says to those who approach "welcome, I light these steps so that you may approach in safety and with a sense of open hospitality!"  It says "we who reside behind this door are engaged in the business of life, that our home is a refuge, and you are welcome to share in the delights of "being".

To others a porch light is a device to ward off "intruders".  Only the greatest wattage is sufficient to give "warning" that some night time creature dares to trespass onto your "property".  Some of those, of a more vigilant bent, install elaborate security devices to warn off those of the "night time trespass".  Motion-activated flood lights will light up the night and activate the screeching sirens of alarms when the visitor approaches the bastion of security.

I would venture to guess the wattage of our porch light is in direct ratio to our level of fear and our level of trust in the particular corner of the world that we live in.  It may also say much of what is in our hearts.  They may also be a gauge of our openness to the world outside ourselves.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for porch lights.  Upon arriving home late at night, from a day of work, or from a long journey, that light on the front porch says so many things.  Family is waiting.  In a world of casual indifference there are loved ones waiting inside to offer warmth and love and comfort amidst the harbor of "home".  That light says to the returning wanderer that there shall always be a place of warmth when the world turns a cold shoulder to you.

My porch light continues to illuminate the path to my door.  I do not wish to dwell in the darkness so my porch light will always be a welcoming beacon to those who are lost and to those who seek the comfort and warmth of safe harbors.


Jerry Carlin said...

What a great post about a simple light! If I ever drive to Arizona I'll throw a Stone Post in the back of my truck!

A Modest Scribler said...

Aww, thank you, Jerry. You can be quite tough on me at times but it's the warm comments like these that make the more critical ones tolerable....and welcomed.

I do like to be challenged; it is so much better than listless fawning....but sometimes I have to crawl through the web of my own biases to enjoy them.

Happy Sunday, old friend.

Unknown said...

Very nice, I'm pleased to say we have a soft welcoming light at our front door. However, should you have no business here...,.

Carol said...

Great post! Now, if we could just bring front porch gatherings to Arizona. I miss that about Chicago! The front porches on every house, neighbors visiting with each other, kids playing flashlight tag......ahhhh, the memories of childhood! :)

A Modest Scribler said...

That doggy looks like he could handle things nicely, Brian. :)

A Modest Scribler said...

Carol, about a year ago The Republic wrote about a neighborhood down in Phoenix somewhere that was getting ready to have a week long "porch visit" festival. Folks could come by and visit eau other.

I'm with you. We always had front porch socializing going on when I was a kid.

Jerry Carlin said...

Builders don't build front porches any more, just back decks where we can be in isolation.

Carol said...

That's right Jerry......safely tucked away inside our block fences!