Each porch has its own personality. A front porch can be a home’s warm welcome or a place to look out onto the world. A back porch can become a quiet refuge or offer space for a lively lunch.

My childhood home had a large L-shaped front porch with a wide swing at one end and very little porch furniture. It was a porch cleared for kid-friendly activity. We would set up card tables to work on our stamp collections or play board games. On hot summer days, we sat on the swing with cold drinks and a clipboard to count the most popular brand of car that drove by. We were a Ford family and rejoiced when Ford won the day.

Our grandfather’s summer cottage had a spacious front porch with rocking chairs arranged for adult conversation. There were two swings – one for napping adults and a single one for vigorous grandchildren who competed to see how many swings it took to kick the shade of the porch light.

Now our family has a little summer cottage in that same community. Its front porch reflects what I cherish most about summers there. The swing on the porch is the swing where my mother read books as a teenager. The porch’s wicker rockers and chairs are gathered round for chats with family and friends.

When the sun sets, I light candle lanterns. Their soft flickering light transforms the porch. The swing becomes my perch apart from the world – a place to reflect and remember on long summer evenings.