I’ve begun to realize that space matters. By this I mean where I spend my time. I used to think I could live just about any place and be fine. Then I moved into the “condo”. It’s called a condo because people own the units. I’m renting one of them, and it’s really like an apartment. It’s nice. I have underground, secured parking and a gate across the front of the place so I have to let people in when they come over. Sometimes that is a hassle when it’s cold, and I’m tired and already in my PJs and a friend comes over. It has a pool and jacuzzi area where I can relax in the evenings. Except when Ralph is down there. I’ve learned to avoid times when Ralph, “the jacuzzi creeper” is hanging around.
My favorite part of the condo though is the deck. Well, the deck and the closets in my bedroom. The deck is small, the closets are huge! The deck overlooks a tropical kind of man-made forest with a running stream that flows through it. Ducks fly in to live there in the winter time. There are three of them now. I like to sit out on the deck on Saturday mornings and drink coffee, read, or just be quiet. I like to sit there in the evening and listen to the waterfall. But sometimes the water feature gets irritating. The water flows too strongly, and it’s loud. I think it is meant to drown out sounds of the city and my neighbors. It does a pretty good job at that. But it also keeps me awake at night and makes it hard to hear the tv or cell phone.
But the real trouble with this space is this: It. Is. Dark.
I kind of knew this when I decided to lease it. I thought it would be all right if I just added a few extra lamps. But it isn’t. And I have brought in a lot of lamps; mood lighting floor lamps, table lamps, even automatic candles. Still. Dark. Finally, at Christmas time I bought boxes of those little white pin lights. I hung strings and strings of them like crown molding all along the ceiling line. It has helped, but it hasn’t fixed the darkness problem. It’s pervasive. And in winter when sun is in short supply there is less of it to seep in through the sliding glass door.
Living in the loud-waterfall, great-closeted, deck-with-a-view, jacuzzi-creeper, locked-gate, too-dark condo for the past year has taught me some things about myself. First that I need natural light in a place. It affects my outlook. Next, that I can adapt. It has taught me I can figure outhow to be happy just about anywhere. That when I don’t like something, I can set out to change it. I can effect change in my small part of the world and make it a better place. I can learn to appreciate things I didn’t before. Like this last little bit of sunlight streaming in through one small space in the trees, so fleeting it is gone in the time I type these words.