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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

The Front Steps

Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel on My Front Steps

I’ve never been one to rush blindly into change. I tend to cherish my surroundings, incorporating them into what I perceive as home. Of course, nothing is perfect, but I have found a way to create a unique balance in my world. Some may think of me as overly attached. Still, I believe it is the stuff that contributes to an abundance of gratitude. I am all about heart and home

Whether perched on a weathered tree stump, gazing out over the pond, or settled into the back steps off of the kitchen, talking to my feathered and furry neighbors, I’m home. 

A few years ago, there were some major renovations done to this old farmhouse. All that said and done, I often prefer to keep some things just as they are. It doesn’t mean that I’m resistant to all change, but that which is part of my nest is just that. I do not take it lightly. 

Yes, I absolutely love the gorgeous addition, new floors, walls, windows, and more. But I also liked it the way it was. It all boils down to being grateful to have a home at all. So, being fussy isn’t an option.

The first spring following the building of the new addition, I found myself wandering up to the top of the hill with my son’s dog Bradi. I had a cup of coffee in one hand and the orange ball in the other. I really like April, before the arrival of black flies. I looked around for where I would sit, which would typically be one of my sitting rocks. Then my eyes fell upon the old front porch steps at the edge of a giant construction debris pile. They were completely intact, there in the field, begging me to sit.

Until that moment, I didn’t realize just how much I would miss those steps. I thought of the many nights, mornings, and afternoons spent sitting on them. It was a place to enjoy my feathered and furry friends, and most of all, my children. I sat with my daughter until the first light of dawn crept into the sky, talking about everything possible, hoping, and dreaming.  

I sipped dandelion wine and strong coffee with various combinations of family and friends, even when it was cold or raining. Sitting on those steps was a big part of everything. How would I carry on without them?

These thoughts consumed me as I continued to drink my coffee and throw the ball for Bradi, who I envied for being happy despite everything and anything going on in the world. I decided that everything in the construction debris pile could be disposed of, but the front steps had to stay. It was that simple.

This will be the third year that the front steps sit in the middle of the field, at the top of the hill, near the heart of the gardens. When my children come home, I lead them up to the steps, where we congregate and have those meaningful conversations that I never want to end, just like we did when the steps were attached to the house. When no one is visiting, it is simply my place to go. I sit there and absorb the sunshine, place my wildcraft basket down for sorting, and lay out my earth tools. I am ecstatic that the front steps are still very much a part of my life.

Paw Prints, Snow
Visitors on My Front Steps, Mj Pettengill

I was eager for the snow to melt, and I could sit on one corner of the top step. It’s just a matter of a day or two, and I will have them all back. When we are not keeping at a distance, and we can move about freely, when my children return home, or you come to visit, we shall sit together on the front steps, share a cup of wild tea and a chat. Where the steps are located matters not, it’s keeping them alive and in your world that makes all the difference.


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