I have a new space, an auxiliary to and detour from my usual round. It is piped for water and wired for power but nothing else: no phone, no cable, no web. I am, as a friend once put it, not cellular. And thus this new space is an almost total disconnect. (Ironically, then, it's the first of all my spaces of which I've shown you a picture--perhaps because my plan is to keep it entirely to myself in all other ways.) (And no, those arms don't belong to me. If only!)
There is something crucial about a desk at a window: what I want is not just a room of my own but a window of my own. The year I lived in England, a friend and I would race each other each day to claim the two popped-out window seats in our university's Old Library. At those desks, one sat with one's back to the library's stacks and tables. The desks themselves sat in floor-to-ceiling windowed alcoves, with windows on three sides, so that we could actually spy on each other while we did our work, there in our protrusions from the building. On the clearest days, I could see all the way to the estuary that led down to and up from the sea.
This new space does not have such a protrusion, and there's no water to see, but it does have an immense amount of room for me to perch at a small desk beside any of four large windows--and the view is arguably better than the last time I took up residence behind a desk facing out a window, the summer I spent two weeks in Lancaster, England and rearranged my whole room's furniture so as to create a window desk. (That July, I looked out at a postwar dormitory complex.) Moreover, I am sharing the space with the fabulous woman who has helped me see--just for instance--the similarities among these shapes:
When she invited me to share the space, she promised that sometimes it feels like New York City--a selling point she didn't really need. But what struck me when I went in this afternoon is how much it feels like southern Indiana up there (because you know that I wouldn't have said yes to sharing a first-floor space). Southern Indiana is where I first encountered tin ceilings and weird dilapidations, the strangeness of nineteenth-century architectural detail atop the most gravely banal of everyday endeavors. And the little town above which I will now perch is not entirely unlike the little town that was my introduction to the Hoosier state. And really, that makes it just enough different from my home village. Just enough different to jostle me toward what I'm after.
When I walked out two nights ago--the night I saw the luciérnagas in the ravine--I could feel the village brewing, the season changing over from order to ferment. I had forgotten what this blooming feels like; somehow, it got lost in the press of the autumn and winter. It's about time for something to get made, or born: I can feel it coming. Now I just need to show up and greet it.