I’ve been watching my world grow smaller all afternoon.
Even though I have an “official” office with a desk and computer hutch, I usually prefer to write in a chair in my den. I prop my feet on a footstool, rest my computer on a lap “wedge” I bought at an office supply store and set a cup of tea on the table nearby. Usually I wear headphones and listen to iTunes while I write. In the winter, I enjoy having a fire burning in the big brick fireplace right next to my chair.
I’ve tried to figure out why I prefer writing in the den rather than in my office. Recently another writer commented that she enjoys writing in coffee shops and outdoors more than at a desk because when she’s at her desk, she feels like she’s working. When she’s somewhere else, she’s creating. That really resonated with me, so I suppose it’s part of my subconscious reasoning, as well.
In my office, my back is to the window that looks out over our backyard. In the den, my chair faces a glass door that looks out past the patio and across a five-acre pasture. In the summer, my hummingbird feeder hangs directly in my line of vision from my chair, so I can watch the little ruby-throats zipping aggressively around the openings. All year, two bird seed feeders and a suet holder are within my sight, so I can watch such varieties as finches, sparrows, doves, cardinals, mockingbirds, bluebirds, juncos and woodpeckers either on the feeders, the tree branches or the ground below. I was thrilled one day to see a pair of rose-breasted grossbeaks on the feeder (birds not generally seen in this area). From my chair, I’ve seen deer, squirrels, rabbits, skunks (I’ve named one of them Pepe, because he visits so often), raccoons and even an occasional snake. All but the deer have ventured onto the patio and are fun to watch (I don’t mind either skunks or snakes as long as they’re on the other side of the glass door from me).
I spend a lot of time gazing out at that view, watching the seasons change, the leaves grow, turn and drop, sunny days, rainy days, rare snowy days. Watching cars pass by on the road on the other side of the pasture, C-130s fly over our property as they prepare to land at the nearby airbase. It’s my window to the world and I love the view.
Today, I’ve watched a thick gray fog creep across the pasture and toward my window. As it comes closer, the world behind it disappears. I can no longer see the houses in the distance, nor the road between us. It’s almost as if they no longer exist. The pasture is just a blur with the hazy outlines of winter-bare trees barely visible against the fog-gray sky. The trees in the photo above are gone now, completely enveloped by the dense cloud. Everything seems quieter than usual, as if the people and cars I usually see passing have retreated into their own warm caves to wait for the fog to lift.
It’s no wonder that fog and darkness have been featured so prominently in so many scary scenes in fiction. When our eyes can no longer see the features around us, our imagination kicks in. It’s all too easy to imagine bad guys or monsters or fantastic creatures lurking in that concealing fog rather than the deer and squirrels and rabbits I’d see on an average clear day. I hear a noise coming from the pasture, and my writer’s mind ascribes all sorts of improbable causes for that sound. And I don’t even write scary stories. I can imagine how Stephen King and Dean Koontz and others in their genres must be inspired by such imagery.
I love my window to the world. Especially since I am blessed to have a warm, comfortable home from which to view the wonders of nature. I read an article on-line only this afternoon about the homeless who, for whatever mental, emotional or financial reasons, have no such safe place for shelter, and how hard economic times have drastically reduced the assistance available for them and other charitable causes. It made me so grateful for the blessings I have received, and which I too often take for granted.
At this busy time of shopping, socializing and celebrating in our ever-smaller world, I encourage all my friends to remember the less fortunate with donations of food, warm clothing and blankets, and any spare cash to the charities that are suffering through these difficult financial times. Even a little donation goes a long way for those who have nothing.