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Suburban Island

Room to Write
Wednesday, Dec. 01, 2004, 9:00 p.m.

QUESTION: Write there?

WHAT I LEARNED: A little corner of solitude goes a long way.

I feel the weight of the world slip off my shoulders when I can sit down in front of my computer for some online reading and writing. I do most of my online reading and writing here in this little space. Mostly itís mine but often itís my kidís space too. Itís one of the most popular room in the house Ė cozy, usually filled with music, and providing access to the household technology such as it is. Itís a little bit study, a little bit library, a little bit home office, a little bit internet cafť, and a little bit oasis of calm in a sea of daily chaos. I love this room. Actually, I think my kids do as well.

image by Suburban Island

One of the reasons it appeals to me so much is the calm window view. An ordinary suburban view through an ordinary suburban window. The window looks out into the backyard. An ordinary backyard perhaps but there is a lot to be said for the beauty of the ordinary.

From where I sit at my computer I have a view of green grass, green shrubs, and green trees, blue skies - sometimes clouded or rain soaked or snow laden, the edge of a roof or a brick chimney from the house behind rising up out of the bower. Sometimes huge white dogwood blossoms, salmon rosebuds, splendid purple and pink Rose of Sharon and Crepe Myrtle trees that stand sultry and simple in a line along the side of the house that slips subtly into the edge of the backyard and overtakes the summer day. Later there are autumn leaves in orange and gold piles and later still winter snow Ė glinting pristine white on red-berried Holly and the quiet Juniper bushes.

There are often passersbys: birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and red foxes that move gracefully across the landscape. People too. Yesterday, the cute-as-a-button lawn guy turned up to survey our backyard, and earlier a bunch of little boys from 2 houses down chased each other across the green grass while laughing like crazy. Sometimes a random kid will climb over the fence and down the hill behind the fence. On a weekend afternoon I might see my husband doing the yard work Ė busy and content in the fresh air. It wasnít too long ago that on a summer night I might be surprised by the sudden appearance of my son and his friends playing a game that involves running around the neighborhood with flashlights between the fireflies and slipping through the summer darkness of backyard hill and dale. I miss that now that the boys are too old for flashlight tag and the like.

On occasion, a large black and white cat strolls by or sits up on the hill under the dogwood tree Ė very still and regal. Turtles, goldfish, frogs, and a great blue heron have stopped by ordinary corner of suburbia. My son once saw a deer on our hill and even though my husband didnít believe him, later on it turned out some deer had run through some store windows just a mile or two up the road. The kid DID see a deer, dear.

And I am wondering as a result of all this pondering of my small study and why it appeals to me Ė where do you write when you write? Whereís your quiet space?

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