I have a well worn tee shirt that says, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, you’d better stay on the porch.” Although I like this expression, I prefer my porch to almost any other location, thus, I am perfectly happy to stay on the porch. I believe there are several types of people, dogs, and cats. There are house dogs, house cats, and people who stay mostly inside their house. The people who stay inside their house by choice (as opposed to being home bound due to an illness, injury, or age related incapacitation) usually enjoy watching television, playing video games, checking their social media, or any one of a number of other indoor pursuits. Many people I know spend most of their lives indoors, with their TV blaring loudly at all times and with their curtains drawn lest anyone discover they are home. Other people are beckoned by the outdoors; these individuals enjoy watching and participating in sports, boating, hiking, and exploring the world around them. These people are akin to “yard dogs” and outdoor cats who prefer natural environments to indoor creature comforts. Then there are the people, dogs, and cats who prefer to spend their free time hanging out on their porch. I am one of these “porch dogs,” in that I spend most of my time at home on my back porch, regardless of the weather. All of my cats have been porch cats, and all of them have had a strong preference for spending time on the porch on the hottest of hot days. My friends are aware of my penchant for hanging out on the porch. In fact, most of them immediately walk to the porch upon arriving at my house, rarely stopping to sit in air conditioned comfort of my living room. My brother and sister-in-law (who is like a sister to me), Park and Jeanette, have the best porch for hanging out of anyone I know. Their porch is situated high in the tree tops, in close proximity to a waterfall on a beautiful creek. The cool breeze and the sound of rushing water are the perfect complements to the fun times we have had on their porch. What type of person are you: a house person, an outdoors person, or a porch person like me?
To answer Melissa’s question, my preference is to be an outdoors person. But, the reality is, I spend more time on the porch than in the field. Growing up, I spent as much time as possible exploring the woods near my house, pellet gun in hand, before moving beyond that to bigger woods and bigger tools and accessories. And, as a photographer, one of my primary focuses is (pun intended) being a wildlife photographer. Wandering in the woods, even if it is an in a city park, with a camera (or 3) is among my favorite activities. These environments vary in solitude, and some are downright crowded with photographers, but the open air, along with the photographic challenges, are, for me, the best form of relaxation – even if it can be exhausting. But, in responding to Melissa’s post, I also considered a bigger question – why most humans prefer to live indoors. I know that is a big, anthropological question, going back to the good ‘ol cave dwellers, but, I’m not thinking back that far. I’m thinking of the outback Australian Aborigines for whom the Australian government built nice houses in places like Alice Springs. Yet, the aborigines prefer to sleep under the stars – with no roof overhead. They might find porches acceptable, but generally they are the most outdoors oriented people I’ve ever observed. In the times I have been in Alice Springs, I have noticed what appeared to be abandoned houses, perhaps occupied by dogs and belongings, but the people are out and about in nature, living, in many ways, as they always have. That perspective on house, outdoor, or porch people is very different and obviously culturally different. And, while I enjoy indoor comforts, a few hours outdoors, even if on the porch, is like a battery recharge for me. A needed break from work pressures is as nearby as the sliding glass door.