December 23, 2019 | Storytelling
In the Porch Light: A Sanctuary of Stories
The porch light casts a haze of yellow across the leaves lying on the lawn. With each passing minute, the temperature drops from the sexy briskness of autumn to the bare bones of winter.
The three of us are sitting in mock Adirondack lawn chairs and wrapped in woolen blankets. The darkness curls around us like a cat, the light-coated twigs and leaves marking the outline of its soft underbelly just past the porch railing.
Bowls of carrots, hummus, chips, and candy corn—leftovers from yesterday’s football game—are arrayed on a metal plant stand in the middle. Sarah pours two glasses of red and hands one to me. Laura sips camomile tea.
We take turns speaking and listening to one another, each of us grappling with the undulations of life in our own ways. But for now we’ll hold the night at arm’s reach and speak in gentle tones. We’ll make this porch of cement and wood our sanctuary.
We have come here to slow down and reconnect by sharing our stories of the past days and weeks.
Our stories are not like the fantastic caricatured ones of the screen but they are nonetheless full of the magic and weight only intimacy with the mundane can bring.
Our stories are uniquely our own and yet they simultaneously call us into a deeper reservoir of universal human truths.
They are the roots in the soil of our community.
Since the dawn of homo sapiens, stories have been the sentinels of humanity. Collective myths guide and shape our cultures, our communities, our businesses, our homes.
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell saliently describes the role stories play in our lives. He writes,
Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.”