Ours is a relatively new house. Well, new for us as we moved in less than a year ago but older in relative terms. It was built in 1959. One of its best features, one of the features that made me fall in love with this split-level rancher, is the sun-room, two walls made up of small-paned windows, and the dining room, which has a large plate-glass window looking out onto the backyard. All of these windows are a chore to keep clean, and I’m not doing a very good job…But that’s okay. It’s winter and the weak sunlight that filters through brightens the entire space without showing too much grime. The plate glass window, about 3 x 8′, acts like a large frame to create a picture of the yard beyond.
The grass is still green despite the recent snows and the trees, even devoid of leaves, look beautiful as their branches arc and wave above the lawn. Pachysandra and ivy cover beds in the lawn surrounding the house and the bases of most of the trees. A small rolling hill carries my eyes deeper into the yard and reminds me of the days spent mowing last summer, pushing and pulling the machine up and over the curves in the earth.
Wind chimes and bells hang from many tree limbs and if I’m lucky I catch the sounds they make when a breeze touches them. The bells are all from Asia and circle the house, one on each side, to protect our home. My favorite chime, bought at Paolo Solari’s studio outside Phoenix, dangles just outside this large expanse of glass, and I can see it when I look out .I lush green patina coats its form and when I see it I think of that day four years ago when I wandered the studio trying to choose my own chime. Hundreds of pieces hung from every conceivable place in Solari’s workshop. I wandered for a long time, touching bells that spoke to me and ringing each to hear the tone it would deliver. Today my chimes and bells are quiet, the Beatles play on my sound system, and the yard, while welcoming and in fairly good condition for late winter, is empty, silent. No chipmunks, rabbits or birds today. Not yet. I guess all of us are waiting patiently, indoors, for the sleepy days of January to pass and take us ever closer to spring.