Thursday, December 01, 2005

A room with a view

This phrase conjures up so many images -- the lovely E.M. Forster novel, and the movie inspired by it, beautiful Renaissance paintings set in a room with a window, the scenery beyond setting the emotional context for the subject matter, and my personal favorite, a daydream of me daydreaming by a window, looking out on a world of beauty and inspiration. The last is a warm and cozy image and pretty much true of my life, but it's still tinged with sadness. A room with a view is very important when your body separates you from the land you love. That window connects you to the nourishment of your heart. Despite my love of nature, I'm not really an outdoors person. Uneven terrain makes me too conscious of weak and injured joints. A chronic illness reacts badly to too much heat, and my southern climate pushes me under air conditioning more than I would like. My time in the landscapes that inspire me is often taken in short snatches whose brevity makes me appreciate them more.

I can see myself in a room with a view quite easily. The large window in my dining room looks out upon my backyard which gently slopes away into a long, narrow cultivated field which then gives way to a stretch of woods bordered by a deep but nearly dry creek. I have neighbors on both sides of my house, but out my back window, I have a sense of space limited only by the parameters of this great creation.

In the mornings, I stumble through my dining room with slitted eyes and my mind racing to meet my morning deadlines. The goal is the coffeepot and the liquid alertness it will hold. Sometimes when the timing is just right, that view from my back window catches me and stops me in my tracks. I see a field of diamonds created by the morning frost. I see playfulness in a swirl of leaves lifted by the wind. I'm caught in the black lace of winter bare trees defining the colors of sunrise. My eyes and heart are opened and my racing mind is calmed.

A room with a view is the gateway to possibility. It is where inspiration gathers, and where calm and chaos birth creativity. I cannot imagine sitting down to really write in a room that doesn't have a view. Even my home office, a tiny room with one small window, provides a view of one of the pin oak trees in my front yard and the line of clustered trees dividing the school playground from the cornfield next to it. It's easy to find the openness and innocence within I need to be receptive to creativity when my view includes laughing children reveling in the freedom of recess. It invites me to play as well with the words and images in my head.

A room with a view can be a quiet place where I curl up in my afghan in my favorite comfy chair, a book and a cat on my lap, a dog at my feet and a drink to one side. I'll always love the comfort in that, and I'm glad I have that as a place for restoration. The passivity of the scene though is an illusion. That room with a view is where the images, ideas and dreams collected through the day form themselves into cohesive thoughts. That windowed room is the safe place around the furnace of a burning mind.

This subject suggested by Judith Heartsong.


Anonymous sunflowerkat said...

I'm imagining a space that gives you comfort and is truly HOME!

December 01, 2005 7:49 AM  
Blogger amy said...

I need a room with a view as well...We're in the suburbs, so we're surrounded by the trappings of man on all sides, but if you look selectively you can pretend you are on a mountaintop somewhere:)

December 01, 2005 9:50 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I'm doing a little happy-dance here... I figured out how to successfully leave comments on blogger from my new 'puter. I just have to "sign in s a different user" for every comment. Kind of a pain in the butt, but it beats having to remember to come back later from my other laptop. All of which has nothing to do with this lovely post :)

Since we moved out here to the "exurbs," all my rooms have views. If it's not through a window to the surrounding hills or the rising sun sihouetting the church and graveyard next door, it's inside. I've been working at making every room of my house a lovely, homey, comforting place to write. Yes, even with the giant pet-hair bunnies and cat puke... Lisa :-]

December 01, 2005 11:18 AM  
Blogger Judith HeartSong said...

oh.... so nicely done my friend. The words you pull out of the air are delightful. judi

December 01, 2005 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

I want to read this AGAIN, in the morning with my coffe and in my comfortable chair and let your words dance in my mind. Anne

December 02, 2005 1:05 AM  

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