There is a popular saying that goes something like this, “The best kind of friend you can have is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had.”
I started working as the Blackburn Caretaker this season and one of my favorite places is our porch. Most of the time when I hear people outside I turn the corner to see them sitting on the wooden swing. Or already rocking themselves to sleep after their ride on the infamous “rollercoaster” of the AT!
The porch seems to literally be the key to this cabin. Some days it’s like a magnet that draws people down the mountain. One hiker recently told me, “I stopped here in 2004 and I just wanted to sit on this porch swing again and look at the view.”
Weary hikers stream in and out of this porch throughout the day to get water or have lunch. I pour glasses of lemonade and sweet tea on the sultry summer days. We offer refuge from the thunderstorms on the challenging ones. And we share stories.
I feel a strong sense of connection in this space. It’s almost like a wrap-around hug from my mom. Sometimes I wonder who has been here years ago. Who else sat on the porch reading a book?
Then I wonder who may come walking down those stone steps next. The Appalachian Trail is .25 miles up this hill.
After I do my work I often retreat to the porch with a cup of coffee and I pause. There is something magical about the gentle rocking of the porch swing that brings me serenity. I can feel the cool breeze whip up from the valley below, listen to the birds and watch the deer crossing the lawn. For those few minutes I am in my own “screened-in” Heaven.
One of the most memorable conversations I’ve had was a farewell to a father and son in late May. They were thruhikers from South Africa.
The boy said “I thought this place was just some old shack in the woods, but when we got here it was like……it was almost like magic.
I smiled quietly, nodded and said, “I know.”
© Cheryl Hadrych (including photographs)