I’m breaking my first rule writing this, by sitting in bed with my laptop. I try not to write in my bedroom but of course there can always be exceptions to rules. Drinking my tea earlier I found myself completely transfixed by the view outside my window. I live in a second floor apartment, which along one side, looks out onto a postage-stamped sized canopy of green. Before living here I never really thought much about orientation, and whether my room was east- or west-facing, and what that actually meant anyway.
After the first night in my apartment, spent on a mattress on the floor of the west-facing living room a few years ago, I woke to find myself shrouded in darkness from the big tree outside the window. There were no curtains or blinds up yet and I feel guilty to admit that at this time, I felt a strange annoyance with the presence of all this light-blocking foliage just outside. Having lived here for a few years now, I must say that I have got used to my quite-dark living room in the morning, and have come to enjoy instead the low evening sun the room attracts, that stretches right across the back wall of the apartment.
Last night was stormy, and living high up and close to the sea, I woke to the rattling of the single-glazed glass. My bedroom is on the corner of the building and has two sash windows. The pulley has broken on the south facing one, so I use a stick to hold the window open just a crack; I always struggle to sleep in a room with no air movement.
In the early morning blur, I opened my curtains and made a cup of tea before returning to bed. On the cusp of being awake and asleep (just as Proust so intimately describes in the opening pages of In Search of Lost Time) with my eyes half closed, I could sense the habitual movement of the morning light wrapping around this corner of the building. It’s become something I now realise I anticipate every day; though the light can often feel quite underwhelming on these early February mornings.
After the night, there was still an underlying restlessness in the air. The dishevelled tree outside my west facing window suddenly become animated by a sustained shock of wind, blowing straight up the street from the coast. This coincided with a break in the clouds, from which burst a dancing resplendent morning light, transforming my view into an assault of colour and movement. From my position on the bed, the scene was given an abstract quality, heightened by being inadvertently framed by the window. The tree morphed from a mid-olive toned hue into a glistening golden ochre. The wind held a duration somewhere between a gust and a squall. This riotous blaze going on a mere two metres outside my window held my gaze for the entire show, before the wind dropped and the light fell back to a flat greyness.
I have now been sitting writing this for thirty minutes waiting for the sun to come out again so that I can take a photograph, to try and visually express my experience in some way. These futile attempts are dotted through this short piece of writing. Shortly after taking these photographs, the darkness has resumed and it’s raining.
I don’t usually post my personal writings on here, but wanted to take a moment to share my appreciation for mother nature this morning. After a pretty flat few weeks, there’s a sense of rejuvenation hanging in the air, as we notice the appearance of the first snowdrops, daffodils and hellebores. Here’s a little prompt to take a moment to find some calm and connect with the outside today, even if just for a few minutes.
* I wanted to share this piece as a prelude to some longer pieces I am currently writing about the sensation and experience of being around trees.
Normal posting will resume shortly, I’ve been working on some projects offline the last few weeks.
3 replies on “On trees and morning light”
Some of us have the luxury of being able and willing to cut down or at least prune trees that provide too much shade. Those of us who live among redwoods do not even try. We grow what tolerates the shade, and find someplace else that is more exposed for our vegetable gardens.
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I’m glad you decided to share. This was lovely to read.
Thanks very much, I appreciate that!