NorthSouthEastWest

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Ghent, NY  I  Wednesday, 31 May 2017

I discovered something wonderful about my place and it makes my heart happy. When I stand under the overhead light in my hallway, I can see out windows in all four directions!

I don’t know why this thrills me so, but it does. I guess it’s because ever since I was 18, I’ve lived in a variety of apartments and duplexes which haven’t had windows on all four sides. So I’ve never really completely known what’s going on outside until I get, well, outside.

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is look out the windows, in all four directions. North, south, east, west, I’m not sure which view I love the best.

I look to the south, out the living room windows, and see Grandma Sweetie, the ancient maple tree, looming, majesty. Lilac bushes, purple and white, surround where Anatevka used to be. A bit closer to the house, and under a slightly skinnier maple tree, spreads the glorious poppy patch, bursting forth with vibrantly orange, delicate-as-tissue-paper petals.

Slightly to the west, down by the road, Grandpa Blackberry holds court, supervising all the comings and goings of people walking or jogging with friends and dogs, bikers pedaling, and cars and work trucks dashing by.

I look to the west, out the windows in the master bedroom, overlooking German Settler Road. In the morning, at 7:32 am, I see my little prince’s golden chariot roaring up, to take him off to school, backing and turning in our driveway. And in the afternoon, at 3:06 pm, the royal coach returns.

Out these west windows, across the road and past the field we call the pasture, there are hundreds and hundreds of trees and a brief and teasing glimpse of the Catskills, when the sky is just right. The mountains are blueish-purple, silhouetted. In the evening, the clouds are low and horizontal and the sunsets are orange and red and pink and purple, or blue and silver and grey, like after tonight’s rainstorm.

I look to the north, out the kitchen windows. They overlook the driveway, so it’s easy to see if anyone is coming and going. This includes birds, bunnies, groundhogs, squirrels, and that enormous black cat who lives under a bush and stealthily slinks around, close to the ground.

Past the north lawn, with the monumental forsythia bush and the tulip tree which didn’t bloom this spring, it’s a major deer thoroughfare. The deer come from the pine grove field, through the break in the trees, and head north of the forsythia, down to the road, and across to the pasture.

The windows to the east, one window in each of the two little bedrooms, they overlook the backyard. Here we have a ragtag assortment of tables and chairs and a rusty fire ring. This is where we cook hot dogs and make gooey s’mores.

This is where we break out the BB guns and shoot at cans of red soda, hoping for an epic, twirling explosion. And up the hill, past all that, the Taconic State Parkway provides a constant white noise, to lull us to sleep at night. After we’ve washed the marshmallow off our hands, of course…