Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Sunny Window

The temperature dropped a few degrees last night but the wind also came up. The lake was a charcoal gray mass of waves and whitecaps. I wonder if it will ever freeze. Meanwhile I was freezing on my walk with the wind in my face coming home.

It makes me realize that our Native American neighbors were pretty savvy people when it came to picking spots for their homes. On Gunflint their homes were all on the north side of the lake. It meant the cold, north winds were blocked by the trees behind them. During the short winter days, they also had sunshine the longest.

Now there was a little payback during the summer. They didn’t get the cooling northwest wind. They also were awakened earliest in the morning during our long summer days. Today, however, it seems to me that the north shore is the place to live.

It is interesting how being aware of weather patterns is helpful everywhere. For about 20 years Bruce and I had a home in the Florida Keys. In our first house we lucked into one that faced south and had a usable porch overlooking the canal. We lived on that porch eating meals there even during the winter. It was hot during the summer but the roof protected us from the worst of the sun.

Eventually we decided to buy another house. By that time we were really into this porch living stuff. The difficult was finding a real estate agent who truly understood us. We would tell everyone we wanted a large porch that overlooked the canal and faced south. Many agents couldn’t understand why we dismissed perfectly good homes that did not have these attributes.

We kept looking and finally found a house that fit us. Our second house had a 12 by 40 screened in porch looking south and overlooking the canal. On one side we had an eating table. On the other side of it were two very comfortable chairs for us to read in. Access to the porch was from a four-wide pocket sliding door in the living room and two regular sliding doors from two bedrooms. Because the rising sun was visible from the porch, we spent many early mornings just watching the sun come up. We sold the house but I still miss the porch.

So many people live totally inside their climate controlled homes. We enjoy the outside possibilities during every season of the year. A summer iced tea break on our north porch here is wonderful. When we can’t be out, our windows bring the outside in. The rising sun pouring into our kitchen is wonderful all winter long. The west exposure in my office keeps my orchid plant happy and blooming.

During these winter months, I hope you have a sunny window to bring the outside world into your life.

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